Stocks bounced back from Friday’s sell-off, but it’s not the opportune time for investors to jump back in the market at full force, CNBC’s Jim Cramer advised Monday.
“The market’s rebound today may not be as crazy as it looks. Every other time we’ve had major conflict under the Trump administration, it’s been a buying opportunity,” the “Mad Money” host said after observing the Dow Jones Industrial Average gain 0.24%, the S&P 500 expand 0.35% and the Nasdaq Composite grow 0.56%.
The major indexes, however, are all still within a percentage point of their Thursday closes, which preceded a U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s top general. The attack in Baghdad jolted Friday trading on Wall Street.
“I’m still recommending proceeding with caution, at least until we get a clearer sense of Iran’s next move,” Cramer said.
Tensions in the Middle East have been boiling since the targeted killing of Gen. Qasem Soleimani. Iran has promised to retaliate, and President Donald Trump has warned the U.S. would respond with more violence. Iraq’s parliament has called for the government to kick U.S. troops out of the country, and Trump threatened to place sanctions on the country if troops are expelled in an unfriendly way.
Additionally, Iran said it will ignore uranium enrichment limits as spelled out in the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark agreement, which was championed by his successor’s administration.
With so much uncertainty in the air, Cramer said it is possible that Friday’s market drop and Monday’s bottom could “represent the market’s typical reaction to heightened geopolitical tensions.”
“If this turns out to be like the last few conflicts,” such as heating tensions with North Korea in 2017, Syria in 2018 and Iran last September, “then history says … you needed to buy when things were most ugly, which would have been this morning,” he said.
However, the host contended that the market is overbought and that there’s “way too much complacency” and “not enough fear.”
Still, gains in the dividend-yielding and technology stocks all say something different from Cramer. Falling interest rates gave a boost to drug stocks, while Apple and Alphabet received positive analyst notes that carried them higher, he pointed out.
“I think today’s buyers … [are] being a little too glib,” he said. “We have no idea what Iran’s going to do, but they seem pretty darned resolute — seems irresponsible to bet that they’ll just let this thing go.”
Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Alphabet and Apple.