This group of stocks could signal inflation

In a broad-based sell-off of this magnitude, investors have to be prepared to wait and see how low stocks can actually go, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said on Thursday.

“At moments like this, you need some touchstones to figure out when the pain is likely to end,” the “Mad Money” host said. “This is not the time to be a hero.”

And with the major averages down sharply just one day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record high, Cramer warned investors not to be too aggressive just yet.

“When it comes to this decline, I think it’s too early to be really aggressive,” he said. “I am worried about your fellow shareholders. They’re your worst enemies right here. Many of them are people with big profits, renters who were just along for the ride. They don’t want to give up their gains.”

So, when will you know that it’s time to act? For that, Cramer laid out the 10 “telltale signs” that could drive the market to its true bottom.

One of the key signs centered on the pharmaceutical sector. Shares of the drugmakers — Allergan, Pfizer, Merck and Eli Lilly included — have been rallying for days, and until they fall back to sustainable levels, the market could endure further declines, Cramer said.

“They’re too high. Why? Because these big pharma names are bellwether inflation stocks,” he said. “They all pay bountiful dividends, and these dividends get less attractive when bond yields are rising, so they tend to get clobbered in this kind of environment and they haven’t been yet. I’ll feel a lot more comfortable when Merck goes back below $68 and Pfizer sinks below $40.”

To read the rest of Cramer’s sell-off analysis, click here.

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