Cramer warns shorts about betting against science in coronavirus

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Jim Cramer

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

CNBC’s Jim Cramer argued Monday that stock market short-sellers are unwisely doubting the ability of scientists to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

“This is a day where you say, if I’m short I’m betting against science, not betting against the lackadaisical attitude of many people in the country, ” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.”

Short-sellers take positions on the hope that the market will drop.

Cramer’s comments came shortly after Johnson & Johnson announced plans to start human trials on an experimental COVID-19 vaccine by September, earlier than the pharmaceutical giant had previously stated. The company also said the vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021.

“I think that there is a sense until today that … this thing is here to stay. And the idea that anything will ever be back to normal is just fanciful,” Cramer said. “When you start hearing about vaccines and you start knowing about the companies that are involved, you start thinking one day, maybe physical distancing, social distancing … could become something of the past,”

The “Mad Money” host said last week he did not believe investors were properly factoring in the likelihood of major scientific advances on treating COVID-19, which has now infected more than 143,000 people in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

“What happens if we actually find an antiviral that gets people out of the hospital? Could you imagine where this market is with this liquidity?” Cramer said on Friday. 

Cramer’s comments Monday came shortly before the stock market opened. All three major U.S. indexes were modestly higher early in the session as Wall Street looked to build on last week’s strong performance. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted its best weekly gain since 1938, rising more than 12%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted gains of 10.3% and 9.1%, respectively, for their best weeks since 2009. 

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq, as of Friday’s close, remained down more than 20% from their February record highs, following weeks of extreme volatility as investors responded to the economic shocks of the pandemic.  

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