How the Stock Market Is Different This Year

Now months into 2012, Cramer on Thursday said the stock market today is “wildly different” than what he saw last year.

“What’s so different about 2012?” Cramer asked rhetorically. “It’s our reaction to individual stock news, the way we view and trade that news, that’s the defining trait of this market. When we get good news, stocks go much higher.”

Good news didn’t seem to matter as much last year, Cramer explained. It was always obscured by the “macro,” such as the Greek debt crisis.

Today, though, retailers were higher after most stores posted stronger-than-expected sales for February, thanks to a gain in consumer confidence. Gap surged to lead the S&P 500 leaders after the clothing chain posted its first increase in eight months. Last year the pundits would recommend investors “sell the news,” Cramer complained. Not anymore!

There is also a spirit of forgiveness about this market, Cramer continued. Take Liz Claiborne , which reported quarterly results that missed both revenues and earnings expectations. Despite the disappointing news, the stock pushed higher.

“Keep watching these trends of forgiveness and instant rewards,” Cramer said. “They could lead us to higher levels simply because they encourage people to come in off the sidelines and start buying stocks.”

Bottom line: Bad news just doesn’t seem to create much of a ripple in the market today. There will likely be more bad news ahead, but Cramer thinks the market will likely continue to brush it off.

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