Jim Cramer: Buy stocks slowly, ‘we’re getting closer to a bottom’

"I'm urging you to have a lot of cash on the sidelines and put money to work gradually 'cause there may be more bad [coronavirus] stories" next week, the "Mad Money" host said.

Wall Street is in deep correction territory, stocks have been discounted and the embargo on putting money in securities is now over after a tough week of trading shrouded in coronavirus uncertainty, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday.

“We’ve had back-to-back days, though, where 10 times as many stocks were falling versus going up, and that is highly unusual,” the “Mad Money” host explained. “It suggests we’re getting closer to a bottom … though we probably may not be there yet.”

Cramer came to that conclusion after $3.18 trillion of value was cut out of the market during Wall Street’s worst week since the financial crisis in 2008. Investors transferred money from riskier assets to safe havens such as bonds as worries mounted about the novel coronavirus’ impact on businesses and a slowing global economy.

Cramer said investors with stock in travel, leisure, automotive and housing companies should consider offloading their holdings and building cash. Those businesses will likely miss their quarterly projections, meaning they have not seen the end of the rout in their valuations, he said. The public should expect more negative COVID-19 headlines to come out during the weekend that can impact trading on Monday, Cramer said.

“This is the time to high grade your portfolio, regardless. I want you to take some losses and move to better stocks,” he said. “I know these groups have already been crushed. That doesn’t mean they can’t get crushed some more.”

The host recommended a basket of stocks, ranging from gold to consumer staples to pharmaceuticals, that he thinks are investible here:

Barrick Gold — $25.60 per share, down 12.6% from Monday
AbbVie — $85.71, down 12% since Feb. 12
Abbott Laboratories — $77.03, 16% under Jan. 22 close
Coca-Cola — $53.49, down 11% from Feb. 21
Moderna — $29.16, 11% off Wednesday’s close
Zoom Video Communications — $105, 7.5% off Thursday’s close
Etsy — $57.81
Shopify — $463.31, down 15% from Feb. 19
Teladoc Health — $124.96, off 7.5% from Thursday
RingCentral — $235.75, off 5% from Feb. 19
Verizon Communications — $54.16, down 12% year to date
AT&T — $35.22, down 12% from Jan. 8
“I’m urging you to have a lot of cash on the sidelines and put money to work gradually ’cause there may be more bad stories,” Cramer said. “You buy slowly in stages. Next week is stage one. There will be more stages, likely at lower levels.”

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