'I just don't buy the negativity' in markets — Cramer praises Covid stimulus as bridge to vaccine

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CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Tuesday he believes investors should be optimistic about the U.S. economic recovery in the months leading up to a widely available Covid-19 vaccine.

“I just don’t buy the negativity here” in the stock market, Cramer said on “Squawk Box,” pointing to the potential benefits from the $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package approved late Monday by Congress.

The relief bill, which came after months of gridlock on Capitol Hill, contains a $600 direct payment for many Americans, a $300-per-week federal unemployment supplement and additional funds for small business loans. It also directs money to assist with distributing Covid-19 vaccines and to help with testing and contact tracing. President Donald Trump still needs to sign it.

“I actually thought the $900 billion package was very well thought out. I know it’s considered slapdash. I don’t think so,” Cramer said, describing it as “the $900 billion bridge” to a vaccine. “I am a pessimist only in the sense that there were so many things that went wrong before we got the bill. I’m an optimist going forward,” the “Mad Money” host added.

Health-care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are receiving priority in the initial batch of available vaccine doses. So far, the Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency use authorization to shots from Moderna, as well as Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Johnson & Johnson, which has fully enrolled its phase three clinical trial, has said it could apply for limited regulatory clearance in February if its vaccine proves safe and effective.

The available supply of Covid-19 vaccines is expected to increase in the coming months, allowing for a broader pool of Americans to be eligible to receive the shots. Cramer has said he believes J&J’s vaccine could be crucial in helping expand vaccine availability next year.

Cramer’s comments came as Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were largely flat. In morning trading, the Dow was down 150 points, or 0.5%, while the S&P 500 also was slightly negative. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was modestly lower.

Stocks had a volatile session Monday as Wall Street worried about a new coronavirus strain circulating in the United Kingdom. However, some public health experts believe the existing Covid-19 vaccines to still provide immunity against the emerging virus variant.

In addition to stimulus benefits, Cramer said stocks will likely continue to be aided by investors who are beginning to put cash to work in the market. “There’s a lot of new money coming in,” he said.

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