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Jim Cramer: Time to get out of the stock market

In a dramatic statement, the host of CNBC's “Mad Money” urged investors who have money they may need in the next five years tied to stocks to pull their dough out: “I do not believe you should risk those assets in the stock market right now.”
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Bullish investors should turn into shrinking violets as the stock market continues its shocking downward spiral, CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer told Ann Curry on TODAY Monday.

In what Curry called a “dramatic statement,” Cramer emphatically urged any investor who has money they may need in the next five years tied to stocks to pull their dough out.

“I thought about this all weekend,” Cramer told Curry. “I do not want to say these things on TV.

“Whatever money you may need for the next five years, please take it out of the stock market right now, this week. I do not believe that you should risk those assets in the stock market right now.”

While the animated Cramer is known for telling investors the best prospects for earning money on the stock market, he’s now saying retreat is the best position in the face of some of the worst financial news in decades. The bank lending default crisis that put financial firms around the country on the brink of collapse could bring “as much as a 20 percent decrease in the stock market,” Cramer predicted.

He noted that the world’s markets are nosing downward in the face of the U.S. fiscal trauma.

“One thing is certain — they are, in Europe, behind us,” Cramer told Curry. “We’ve experienced more pain than they have, we are surprised at their pain, we didn’t know how bad off they were.”

He called the U.S. government’s $700 billion bailout plan, which includes raising the insured rate on bank deposits from $100,000 to $250,000, as a “good one,” assuring bank depositors: “Your money is safe.”

But he warned that the same may not be true for stock market investors.

“I don’t care where stocks have been, I care where they’re going, and I don’t want people to get hurt in the market,” Cramer told Curry. “I’m worried about unemployment, I’m worried about purchases that you may need. I can’t have you at risk in the stock market.”

Still, those with the assets — and the stomach — to ride out the stock market’s ups and down over a five-year period might be best served by holding their nose and holding onto their stocks.

“I think what you have to do, if you can withstand it, is just ride it out,” Cramer said.

Cramer’s gloomy scenario came from calculating individual Dow stocks and estimating how far they might yet fall, he told Curry. And companies’ third-quarter earning reports, due this week, aren’t going to be music to investors’ ears.

“I think the previous quarter, the one we’re now hearing from, was a terrible quarter — but it will look good versus the coming quarter,” Cramer warned.