Investors should remain in the market despite Monday’s major coronavirus-induced sell-off, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said.
“Stay in. Stay in,” Cramer said on “Closing Bell.” “We’re getting a comprehensive decline. I think you can start buying the staples tomorrow.”
“You just don’t want to be in the cross hairs of what I regard as being anything that’s made in China or anything travel,” he said, pointing to sectors such as hotels, airlines and cruise operators. Oil stocks are also “so wrong,” he said.
Cramer’s comments came shortly after the bell Monday, a session in which all three major U.S. indexes closed down more than 3%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,031.61 points lower, marking its biggest point drop since February 2018. The S&P 500 dropped 3.35% to 3,225.89 en route to its worst day in two years, essentially wiping out the index’s year-to-date gains.
The Nasdaq Composite fell 3.71% to conclude the session at 9,221.28.
The sell-off came in response to news that coronavirus cases were surging across the globe, particularly in South Korea and Italy. The vast majority of the more than 79,400 cases are still in mainland China, but the recent spread to other countries has investors grappling with the potential for global economic slowdown.
Cramer has said he did not believe Wall Street was fully grasping the magnitude of the coronavirus.
“The virus is totally underrated,” he said late last week.
Cramer said on Monday that last week’s market moves, which saw industrial stocks such as Illinois Tool Works run to the upside, showed investors were “nuts in what was being bought.”
“I mean, how could Illinois Tool Works be hitting like its all-time high last week?” he said.
But Monday’s pullback gives investors a chance to consider their strategies, Cramer said.
“Now we’re going to come down and people have to start thinking about their time horizon,” he said. “Remember you don’t make much money in bonds. You’re going to get the [buying] opportunities that you haven’t had that you should have gotten.”
Cramer said he realized not every investor may have a lot cash to deploy into the opportunistic corners of the market. That is a fixable problem, though.
“I think it’s still not to late sell if you don’t have any cash,” he said.