Investors' big fat Greek distraction
The problems in Europe have highlighted the opportunities still out there in our country.
By Jim Cramer, TheStreet
If you watch "Mad Money," you know that almost nightly I make fun of the obsession with Greece and the Grecian formula for budget deficits. I keep trying to get peoples' attentions on the amazing earnings and takeovers -- a huge number -- and the turn in the US economy.
I am wrong. I have been wrong.
I am beginning to think that Greece Gone Wild is good for the U.S. stock market. That's right, I wrote it: GOOD! Before you dismiss this view out of hand, remember that the whole time this Grecian farce has been going on, the U.S. stock market has rallied. That's what got me thinking about this. Maybe the people who obsess about it -- particularly the media -- should be thinking, "What is the real impact on the United States?" and now, "What is the impact on Europe and the United States?"
I am beginning to think that what is bad for Europe and the euro is good for the US, both the bond and stock markets. First, it stabilizes -- not strengthens -- the dollar. I say it stabilizes because it is offsetting the pain that would be engendered from the huge budget deficits that should have weakened the dollar.
Second, it makes the US far more investible than Europe. We all know that Asia has turned, but it has turned so hard that the Chinese are trying to turn it back. We all know that Latin America has turned, but the run in those stocks is just too strong to participate in at this point. I was looking at Bancolombia (CIB) this weekend to think if I should get behind it, but the run and the valuations are breakneck and breathless.
So, who does that leave? The United States and Europe. Every day I read about the euro is another day I think, "Who wants that?" If I am an individual, a hedge fund, etc., and I could move out of it I would go to gold -- which people are doing -- or the dollar -- which has happened.
But if I were a corporation, I would want to expand here, into the U.S. despite our government's profligacy, because as profligate as we are, we aren't worse than they are. For certain. Plus, we have a trusted central banker who is respected worldwide and is perceived as someone who will do the right thing -- I don't know if the same can be said in Europe.
I want to start thinking of these European problems as opportunities, because looking at them the other way -- the general media interpretation -- has put you way in the hole and has kept a lot of people out of our market when they should have been in it. I know this will matter, because when I look at the Greek bailout I think that Spain, Portugal and Italy will come calling for the same soon enough.
I know, this is a counterintuitive way to look at things. But how about this: If you had a chart of Greek woes -- however you want to measure them -- and you overlaid it on the U.S. stock market, you would see an interesting "X" ... and the upper right quadrant is us!
At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned.
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Stocks drift lower and bonds are hit as investors await the Fed. Prepare for higher volatility this week.
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