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Cramer: Is this the 2011 collapse all over again?

CNBC logo CNBC 02-09-2015 Abigail Stevenson

Tuesday brought more volatility to the markets, creating the worst start to September seen in 13 years. Jim Cramer divided investor reactions to the carnage in to two categories: those who allow themselves to be controlled by their emotion, and those who stay calm and make decisions based on reason. 

"Or will you decide to care more about the United States than China, given that we live in the United States, not China, and the two are very different despite the prevailing wisdom that if things are horrendous in the People's Republic they must be horrendous here, too," the "Mad Money" host said.

At least, that was the assumption behind Tuesday's horrendous decline.

It is on days like this that Cramer is reminded of why he has always kept a copy of The Wall Street Journal from Wednesday, October 4th 2011 on his desk. It was an important day of the market, with the front page covered with stories of a bear market.

Taking another look at the paper prompted Cramer to wonder if investors are experiencing the same collapse that occurred in the market in 2011.





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The lead story on the paper was entitled "Market Nears Bear Territory. U.S. stocks down almost 17 percent since April high on Europe, economic concerns." Currently the market is down 12 percent from its highs, so at least it's not there yet.

It was one ominous news story after another that portrayed a real litany of horrors. One would think that the entire stock market had collapsed on October 3, 2011.

Yet, what happened a day later?

The Dow (.DJI) rallied 153 points to 10,808 at the end of the day, from 10,655 when the paper was printed. It turns out that the day before the paper came out was the bottom in the market.

The averages have not had such a big correction since then—until now.

"Now, far be it from me to try to call a bottom. How many people called this day, October 4, 2011 the bottom? I don't recall a soul. Not with those headlines," Cramer said.

Cramer cannot be sure if the market has hit a bottom, or if there is more turmoil ahead. What he does know is that he does advocate using the decline to buy stocks of companies that investors like at a discounted price from the day before.

However unlike in 2011, Europe is in good shape and is getting better. The U.S. is also headed into a presidential election year, which historically means more money will flow into the country.

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And while oil has been hammered hard, the action from last week proved that it does have the ability to bounce, and that calmed Cramer's fear of major defaults. Global growth can also be helped by the opening of Iran, which could mean a huge capital investment.

The dollar has also been weaker for the past month, particularly against the euro (USDEUR), which is why Cramer finds it so ridiculous for the averages to be down more than Europe given that so much of that continent's downturn had to do with the euro going higher against the dollar.

So yes, Cramer recognizes that it is a bad time out there on the market. It is bear market bad.

"Maybe the market keeps heading lower as everything seems so terrible. Or maybe things start to get better soon and we just don't know it, like on October 4, 2011," Cramer added.

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