CNBC’s Jim Cramer was loathe to accredit the Dow’s record day to the fundamentals.
“This is not a rally,” the “Mad Money” host said on Monday. “This is really a redistribution. It’s not a bet on the future, it’s a wager that some earnings estimates are going higher while others just stay the same.”
In other words, Monday’s market rotation was “100 percent about tax reform,” Cramer said. The successful passage of the tax reform bill in the Senate brings domestic companies closer to a large, earnings-additive tax cut.
But more internationally oriented companies, like most of tech, don’t get much of a boost except for repatriation, which is why the tech-heavy Nasdaq suffered as the Dow rose, Cramer said.
“It’s like Congress has waved a magic wand at every cable company, railroad, retailer and restaurant, as well as a smattering of industrials that have great U.S. exposure, and that wand has radically raised earnings for 2018,” Cramer said.
Therein lies the key to the market’s action: stocks move based on whether their earnings estimates are too high or too low, the “Mad Money” host explained. As it stands, tax reform would render the estimates too low.
And investors don’t particularly care how earnings become better than expected, Cramer said. It could come from management buying back stock to artificially boost the share price. All that matters is the final result.
“The numbers are all that matters, and the numbers just got better thanks to this tax cut,” Cramer said. “So when the dust settles, the analysts will have to raise their estimates, and we know that’s the fuel that sends stocks higher.”
It’s still possible that the market rotation reverses and money floods back into the tech stocks, but Cramer told investors not to hold their breath.
Even if tech companies are doing much better than domestic retailers and restaurants, tax cuts could bring huge earnings boosts to the retailers, which is what matters to deep-pocketed, stock-moving Wall Street professionals, he said.
“The bottom line: I don’t know how much fuel is left in this rotation unless analysts get ahead of things and raise their estimates tomorrow,” Cramer said. “If they don’t, then I think the money starts flowing back into tech eventually — maybe later this week if they keep falling at this pace — but if we do get a bunch of estimate [bumps] for the domestics, we’ll see more days like today, where the bifurcation makes for a ‘heaven and purgatory’ scenario.”