The Fed is fighting 4 inflationary trends it can’t control, Cramer says

Fed fighting trends it can't control, says Cramer

Fed fighting trends it can’t control, says Cramer   4 Hours Ago | 01:17

The Federal Reserve is navigating four trends that it can’t control, but that directly affect its policies, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday after the stock market recovered from a massive intraday decline.

Stocks mounted a recovery late Thursday after the Wall Street Journal reported that Fed officials are seriously considering taking a wait-and-see approach to the central bank’s 2019 interest rate plans after a widely expected rate hike in December.

But four disruptive trends — decreasing immigration, state-level minimum wage boosts, a nationwide lack of truckers and the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China — are turning into an “awfully awkward situation” for the Fed, which is tasked with keeping inflation under control while keeping the economy humming, Cramer said.

“The Fed is fighting four trends that it doesn’t have any control over that are creating inflation,” the “Mad Money” host said.

First is President Donald Trump’s crackdown on immigration, which translates into fewer workers, especially those willing to take lower-wage jobs, and therefore higher wages. Second are state-level minimum wage boosts that amount to government-mandated wage inflation.

Third is the countrywide truck driver shortage, which has become “a major reason for all sorts of companies to raise prices … in order to make their customers eat higher shipping costs,” Cramer explained.

Fourth, but certainly not least, is the United States’ trade dispute with China, further escalated this week by the arrest of the CFO of Huawei, one of China’s most important companies. While Trump and China’s president seemed to agree to a ceasefire over the weekend, the arrest “makes the odds of a good trade deal most unlikely,” Cramer argued.

All four of these ongoing issues directly affect the Fed’s policy, and that’s what’s putting this independent entity in a bind when it comes to planning for the year ahead and maneuvering other major, economy-altering changes like the rise of workplace automation.

“Think about it: the Fed can’t change immigration laws. The Fed can’t lower the minimum wage. The Fed can’t train more truck drivers. The Fed can’t stop Trump from raising the tariffs,” Cramer said. “So what can it do? Well, they can make it too expensive, or too scary, for businesses to hire more people.”

Cramer, who has argued that the Fed should take a data-dependent, wait-and-see approach to its rate hike agenda, again called for more “common sense” and “prudent data dependence” at the central bank.

But, for now, investors might want to consider keeping their powder dry instead of trying to buy the market’s swings, the “Mad Money” host advised.

“If you took a long-term approach, buying stocks into weakness today based on their intrinsic worth rather than their minute-to-minute value, you actually came out on top as the averages roared back from their lows,” he said. “However, there are two caveats. We don’t know what the White House is planning on trade and we don’t know how the Fed will react to tomorrow’s employment number. For today’s lows to hold, at least one of these institutions needs to be rational and prudent. Who knows? Crazier things have happened.”

[“source=cnbc”]

Huawei arrest just made companies like Apple less valuable, Jim Cramer says

Huawei arrest made companies, including Apple, less valuable: Cramer

Huawei arrest made companies, including Apple, less valuable: Cramer   4 Hours Ago | 01:13

U.S.-based technology companies with business in China automatically lost value on news of the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who has reportedly been accused of violating U.S. sanctions, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday.

The arrest, which occurred in Canada on Saturday and was announced Wednesday, “means any tech company that does a huge amount of business in China, including Apple or Micron or Intel or Skyworks or Qualcomm or Broadcom, is worth a little less today than it was yesterday,” Cramer, host of “Mad Money,” told investors.

Tech colossus Huawei, the world’s second largest phone seller and one of China’s most important companies, has been a cornerstone both of Chinese technological pride and of spying concerns from U.S. government officials. A rival of Samsung and Apple in the smartphone arena, Huawei counts Qualcomm and Intel among its suppliers.

The arrest of its global CFO could mark a setback in U.S.-China trade relations, a notion that Wall Street took to heart. To Cramer, calling the event an “escalation” in tensions was “one of the biggest understatements of the year.”

“To say that it could wreck any further negotiations seems reasonable,” he said. “Until we know more, we have to figure there could be more downgrades ahead [and] more pain to come in these tech stocks, unless the CFO is allowed to return to China, or at least released on her own recognizance.”

“Even then, we’re in seriously uncharted waters here,” he said. “Caution is warranted, at least on the Chinese-related tech stocks, until we know more.”

Moreover, it gives the White House “hardliners” on China — namely Trade and Industrial Policy Director Peter Navarro, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer — more “ammunition” in their push to slow China’s rise to power, Cramer said.

“These guys want to maintain America’s place as the world’s sole superpower. They believe some pain needs to be taken, even if it hurts corporate profits, to prevent China from challenging the U.S. hegemony,” the “Mad Money” host explained. “This kind of thing gives the hardliners a lot of ammunition because it illustrates that trade with China is about a lot more than making money.”

Stocks fell dramatically in the first half of Thursday’s trading session, at one point bringing the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s two-day losses to over 1,500 points. The major averages mounted a recovery into the close, though the Dow and the S&P 500 index still ended the day lower.

[“source=cnbc”]

Money managers are realizing that Trump isn’t ‘dependable enough’ for the market: Cramer

Trump not 'dependable enough' for market, money managers learn: Cramer

Trump not ‘dependable enough’ for market, money managers learn: Cramer   13 Hours Ago | 01:17

Part of Tuesday’s stock market plunge may have stemmed from money managers giving up on getting clarity from President Donald Trump and his administration on their policies, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said as stocks settled.

“We have maximum uncertainty. That makes people want to sell. That’s how money managers view the situation,” the “Mad Money” host said after the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day nearly 800 points lower.

Over the weekend, Trump struck a cease-fire on trade with President Xi Jinping of China at the G-20 summit in Argentina. According to the White House, the two leaders agreed to postpone the Trump administration’s planned tariff hike from 10 to 25 percent for 90 days starting Dec. 1.

But while one White House camp — namely top economic advisor Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — seem optimistic about the prospect of a deal, U.S. Trade Representative and known China hawk Robert Lighthizer has emerged as a leading candidate for running the negotiations.

That sets up a battle between those who want a deal and those who would rather see China shed the title of global superpower, Cramer said.

“The president seems to actually enjoy these face-offs. They’ve become his style. The White House is the Thunderdome: two policies enter, one policy leaves,” the “Mad Money” host said. “But the markets crave certainty, which means they hate this kind of master-blaster, Mad Max confrontation.”

As a result, professional money managers — whose jobs call for predicting how certain policies will impact their investments — “feel like they’ve been had,” Cramer said.

“This is not some reality show, for heaven’s sake. It’s real life: real jobs on the line, [a] real economy at stake. While the president had a huge hit with ‘The Apprentice,’ governing the most powerful nation on earth is more serious than going to the top floor to learn who’s been fired,” he said.

“I think it’s starting to dawn on major-league money managers that … maybe they misjudged [the president]. Maybe he simply doesn’t take this stuff seriously enough to be considered dependable, even as what really matters [to his base] is the ratings, or the equivalent of [them], which means the White House version of ‘The Apprentice.'”

To make matters worse, Cramer worried that the Federal Reserve was back on autopilot, content with ignoring slowdown indicators and talking up the job market so it could push through its widely expected December interest rate hike.

But with the bond market doing what it tends to do before recessions, another rate hike could “push us over the edge,” the “Mad Money” host warned, saying that the Fed’s more optimistic members “sound like they’ve lost their minds.”

“The Fed isn’t thinking about how Toll Brothers just told us they had the lowest orders in the house business [in] four years. They aren’t thinking about stores with no cashiers like Jeff Bezos is. They aren’t debating what the cloud does to white-collar employment … [or] what Ford and GM are doing to blue-collar employment,” Cramer said. “They’re simply saying, ‘Friday’s employment number is going to be very strong and we don’t like to … look like we’re soft on wage inflation.'”

So, between the White House policy battles and the Fed’s insistence on following through on its interest rate raises, many stock-pickers and money managers feel like they’ve been left to their own devices, he explained.

“The bottom line is this: the president’s worrying people, the Fed is worrying people, and yet, somehow, they both think they’re being reassuring,” Cramer said. “They couldn’t be more wrong.”

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Money managers are realizing that Trump isn’t ‘dependable enough’ for the market: Cramer

 

Trump not 'dependable enough' for market, money managers learn: Cramer

Trump not ‘dependable enough’ for market, money managers learn: Cramer   13 Hours Ago | 01:17

Part of Tuesday’s stock market plunge may have stemmed from money managers giving up on getting clarity from President Donald Trump and his administration on their policies, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said as stocks settled.

“We have maximum uncertainty. That makes people want to sell. That’s how money managers view the situation,” the “Mad Money” host said after the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day nearly 800 points lower.

Over the weekend, Trump struck a cease-fire on trade with President Xi Jinping of China at the G-20 summit in Argentina. According to the White House, the two leaders agreed to postpone the Trump administration’s planned tariff hike from 10 to 25 percent for 90 days starting Dec. 1.

But while one White House camp — namely top economic advisor Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — seem optimistic about the prospect of a deal, U.S. Trade Representative and known China hawk Robert Lighthizer has emerged as a leading candidate for running the negotiations.

That sets up a battle between those who want a deal and those who would rather see China shed the title of global superpower, Cramer said.

“The president seems to actually enjoy these face-offs. They’ve become his style. The White House is the Thunderdome: two policies enter, one policy leaves,” the “Mad Money” host said. “But the markets crave certainty, which means they hate this kind of master-blaster, Mad Max confrontation.”

As a result, professional money managers — whose jobs call for predicting how certain policies will impact their investments — “feel like they’ve been had,” Cramer said.

“This is not some reality show, for heaven’s sake. It’s real life: real jobs on the line, [a] real economy at stake. While the president had a huge hit with ‘The Apprentice,’ governing the most powerful nation on earth is more serious than going to the top floor to learn who’s been fired,” he said.

“I think it’s starting to dawn on major-league money managers that … maybe they misjudged [the president]. Maybe he simply doesn’t take this stuff seriously enough to be considered dependable, even as what really matters [to his base] is the ratings, or the equivalent of [them], which means the White House version of ‘The Apprentice.'”

To make matters worse, Cramer worried that the Federal Reserve was back on autopilot, content with ignoring slowdown indicators and talking up the job market so it could push through its widely expected December interest rate hike.

But with the bond market doing what it tends to do before recessions, another rate hike could “push us over the edge,” the “Mad Money” host warned, saying that the Fed’s more optimistic members “sound like they’ve lost their minds.”

“The Fed isn’t thinking about how Toll Brothers just told us they had the lowest orders in the house business [in] four years. They aren’t thinking about stores with no cashiers like Jeff Bezos is. They aren’t debating what the cloud does to white-collar employment … [or] what Ford and GM are doing to blue-collar employment,” Cramer said. “They’re simply saying, ‘Friday’s employment number is going to be very strong and we don’t like to … look like we’re soft on wage inflation.'”

So, between the White House policy battles and the Fed’s insistence on following through on its interest rate raises, many stock-pickers and money managers feel like they’ve been left to their own devices, he explained.

“The bottom line is this: the president’s worrying people, the Fed is worrying people, and yet, somehow, they both think they’re being reassuring,” Cramer said. “They couldn’t be more wrong.”

[“source=cnbc”]

This sell-off was caused by a computer-driven ‘footrace,’ Jim Cramer says

Sell-off caused by computer-driven 'footrace,' says Jim Cramer

Sell-off caused by computer-driven ‘footrace,’ says Jim Cramer   13 Hours Ago | 01:10

As CNBC’s Jim Cramer watched stocks nosedive in Tuesday’s trading session, one thing became abundantly clear to the longtime market-watcher: it “was all about the rise of the machines.”

The major averages all fell more than 2 percent as a possible slowdown signal in the bond market and lingering trade fears rattled investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 800 points intraday.

Some attributed the dramatic declines to a lack of buyers, but Cramer already knew the culprits: complex algorithmic programs set up by professional money managers to sell when the odds of future market losses increase.

In other words, when an event that often precedes a recession occurs — in Tuesday’s case, short-term interest rates trading above long-term rates in a so-called yield curve inversion — some trading algorithms will automatically begin selling securities because the chances of an economic slowdown just got higher.

Cramer, host of “Mad Money,” drew a comparison with football. Some plays can seem very risky, but when you consider the percentage chances of them going right, there’s no choice but to implement them in the field. These programs make the same kind of calculation.

So, when the two-year and the five-year yield curves inverted on Tuesday, some hedge funds’ programs automatically sold the S&P 500, which tends to fall in times of economic weakness, and others automatically sold shares of the big banks, which suffer when long-term rates are lower, Cramer said.

“Why? Because historically, this situation has produced negative results for the bank stocks and these hedge funds are trying to get out ahead of others who fear those negative results but just don’t know they’re going to fear them. It’s a footrace,” he explained. “This curve, as they call it, overrides whatever you hear about good employment or consumer balance sheets or robust lending. It’s predictive.”

Worse, the charts are signaling more pain ahead: based on Cramer’s analysis, many hedge funds likely sold the S&P 500 when it dipped below its 200-day moving average because, in the past, that move tended to bring more downside.

“Here’s the problem: there are now so many hedge funds using the same algorithm, same programs [that] there simply aren’t enough investors willing to take the other side of the trade. If we all know that stocks go down on certain triggers, then who the heck would want to buy stocks?” Cramer said.

“That’s how you get a day like today, where the market goes into free-fall,” the “Mad Money” host continued. “When the percentages are against you and the algorithms are in charge, … nobody wants to try to be a hero and bet against them.”

[“source=cnbc”]

Cramer Remix: Federal Reserve officials have to watch what they say

Cramer Remix: Federal Reserve officials have to watch what they say

Cramer Remix: Federal Reserve officials have to watch what they say   13 Hours Ago | 00:59

Part of Tuesday’s stock market plunge may have stemmed from money managers giving up on getting clarity from President Donald Trump and his administration on their policies, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said as stocks settled.

“We have maximum uncertainty. That makes people want to sell. That’s how money managers view the situation,” the “Mad Money” host said after the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day nearly 800 points lower.

Over the weekend, Trump struck a cease-fire on trade with President Xi Jinping of China at the G-20 summit in Argentina. But while top economic advisor Larry Kudlow and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seem optimistic about the prospect of a deal, U.S. Trade Representative and known China hawk Robert Lighthizer has emerged as a leading candidate for running the negotiations.

That sets up a battle between those who want a deal and those who would rather see China shed the title of global superpower, Cramer said.

To make matters worse, Cramer worried that the Federal Reserve was back on autopilot, content with ignoring slowdown indicators and talking up the job market so it could push through its widely expected December interest rate hike.

But with the bond market doing what it tends to do before recessions, another rate hike could “push us over the edge,” he warned, saying that the Fed’s more optimistic members “sound like they’ve lost their minds.”

“I’m concerned that the Fed just doesn’t get how important its words are. All of these Federal Reserve officials should simply hush up and let the chairman do the talking,” Cramer said. “They are sowing a lot of uncertainty, too. Talk about your region, maybe. Talk about business conditions in your states. Don’t make sweeping declarations that only confuse people.”

[“source=cnbc”]