Jim Cramer on how to approach growth stocks after inflation worries shake up market – CNBC

CNBC’s Jim Cramer advised that market players have two ways to approach high-flying growth stocks that teetered and tottered their way through a volatile session on Wall Street Tuesday.

Investors can choose to join in on the sell-off that has dropped some tech names like Apple into negative trading territory this year.

The other choice — taking a cue from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s restated commitment to leave interest rates at low levels — is to hold on for the ride and consider loading up on worthy stocks discounted from their highs, Cramer said after the market closed mixed.

“After today’s late afternoon rebound, it’s not too late to sell the more egregiously expensive stocks if you want to,” the “Mad Money” host said. “But as for the better growth stocks, down more than 10% from their highs, call me a buyer. Not all at once, not big, but a buyer nonetheless in any retest of that 9:47 a.m. low that we saw today.”

Cramer’s assessment of the current state of the market follows a roller-coaster trading day where major U.S. averages bounced from their session lows. The market suffered a steep sell-off in the morning, with the Nasdaq Composite down almost 4% at its trough, before the blue-chip Dow Jones and benchmark S&P 500 managed to etch out modest gains at the close.

The Dow advanced more than 15 points to 31,537.35 for a 0.05% gain. The S&P 500 finished 0.13% higher at 3,881.37 to end its losing streak at five. The tech-heavy Nasdaq could not muster enough for a positive day, falling 0.5% to 13,465.20, extending Monday’s losses.

“I’m happy to entertain the idea that you need to ring the register here, but I happen to like growth stocks in a reflation scare. I like growth stocks when risk is on. I like growth stocks when risk is off,” Cramer said.

“If you want to hold on to the growth stocks … you have to be prepared to take some pain, just like in late 2015 and early 2016 — that was the last great moment to buy these stocks — or you can just do some selling if you want to and try to swap back in at a lower level,” he added.

The market has toiled through a rotation as investors swap growth and tech stocks that outperformed throughout the pandemic for value plays of companies that are expected to see business return as the economy reopens. The Nasdaq is now 4.5% off its closing high earlier this month.

Worries that an inflation revival could trigger the Fed to raise interest rates, as it did in twice in a three-month span between 2015 and 2016, shook investors out of growth stocks in recent days, Cramer said. Higher rates pose a challenge to growth and utilities stocks.

Share prices in Apple, Salesforce, and ServiceNow are all down at least 3% this week.

During an appearance before Congress Tuesday, however, Powell told lawmakers that inflation remains “soft,” the labor market faces ongoing challenges and that the central bank was committed to its current monetary policy.

That reassured investors about interest rates, helping the market recover some losses.

“This time our Fed chief has vowed to hold off on raising rates — too many unemployed — but there will come a time and a point where these growth stocks will be somewhat hopeless,” Cramer said. “They’ll kind of look like they did today … before people came in to buy.”

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct number of points the Dow advanced by.

Disclosure Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Apple and Salesforce.

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