“This kind of rally seems unbelievable. The world’s been starved of growth for ages; we simply haven’t seen anything like it for so long that we have a hard time grasping this move and therefore it makes the move feel phony,” the “Mad Money” host acknowledged.
To explain investors’ hesitation to embrace the market’s monster rally, Cramer looked back at the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
After the recession hit, global growth slowed dramatically and market-watchers became convinced that things would never be the same again.
“[It] made us believe growth would always be slow and difficult to come by,” Cramer said. “For years, it felt like either our economy or the major economies overseas were going to be muted because businesses didn’t want to spend because there wasn’t enough demand to make it worthwhile.”
The companies with “winning stocks” were those that had share buyback programs, fired workers and delivered small but steady sales growth. Other winners were companies that shrank to grow or acquired other companies in order to lay off employees and boost profits.
“Split-offs, spin-offs, dumping under-performing divisions, that’s how your got stock higher,” Cramer said.
But over time, things slowly started to improve. Central banks around the world lowered interest rates, making cheaper money available for financially strained consumers.
China, Japan, India, Latin America and Europe all started to regain economic consistency and turn their markets around.
“Cheap money plus pure demographics — as in, how long can you really live under the same roof with your parents as you start to have kids of your own — and … a healthy loss of memory about what went wrong, all of these combined to start a new business cycle here in America and overseas,” the “Mad Money” host said.
Investors, however, remained skeptical. Cramer saw Wall Street become “infested with negativity” as almost all stock categories were dubbed “fragile” by stock-watchers unwilling to let go of old, unpleasant memories of the crisis.
Many people attributed the eventual positive turn in investor sentiment to President Donald Trump’s election, but Cramer looks at the newfound confidence more broadly.
“It’s not just about the U.S. It’s the whole darned world,” he said. “Europe, which had been a constant worry, flipped and became a source of growth this year. [The] eurozone’s finally gotten its house in order. That’s, by the way, while the euro went up, which helped all our earnings. China stayed steady. The rest of the world continued to accelerate.”
What resulted was synchronized worldwide growth. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve leveled a steady hand with interest rate raises, industrial orders climbed, and the technology sector endured a boom in data centers, the internet of things, the cloud and artificial intelligence.
This quarter, bank, utility and housing stocks joined the party, benefiting from loan growth, demographic changes and rising home prices, respectively, Cramer said.
Even the consumer food stocks started to recover, though Cramer wasn’t sure how long those gains would last.
“This quarter’s proven to be one of tremendous bounty, so tremendous that people can’t even recognize it,” Cramer said. “I’m not telling people to lighten up either in stocks or in mindset. … I am urging you to forget about tax reform and when that’s going to occur, who runs the Fed — love Jay Powell, known him forever — or where rates are going in 2018 and accept the fact that we have a genuine, non-inflationary boom going on both here and around the world, and the stock market accurately reflects this fabulous situation. This is what a real bull market looks like — don’t fight it. Exploit it while it lasts!”