Jim Cramer says Powell ‘means business’ on inflation, so avoid money-losing companies

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Monday that investors whose portfolios include money-losing companies should steel themselves for more downside in light of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech in Jackson Hole last week.

“Until Friday, I wasn’t sure if Powell had the guts to pressure the economy with relentless rate hikes. But simply by signaling that he won’t stop, as he did Friday, Powell may have a chilling effect on every bank that fears making bad loans, especially to businesses that can’t tap the public markets — meaning pretty much all financial institutions worried about all loans,” the “Mad Money” host said.

In a closely anticipated address Friday, the top U.S. central banker warned the American economy could encounter “some pain” as the Fed remains committed to stamping out the hottest inflation in four decades. Stocks plunged Friday as investors digested Powell’s brief but hawkish speech, and the sell-off continued Monday.

While some on Wall Street had hopes the Fed could afford to take a less aggressive posture in the coming months, Cramer said investors now know that “Powell means business.” Ultimately, Cramer said he thinks investors want inflation to subside, adding that certain pockets of the market will feel the Fed’s action more directly.

“If you have stocks of companies that have great balance sheets and plenty of cash … you’ll do just fine,” Cramer said, noting that investors in dividend-paying equities should do well, too. “But if you own the stocks of companies that are losing money? Powell’s message to you is to start selling now before he closes the door on their funding entirely.”

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