Jim Cramer looks at how fear over Russian aggression gave way to a stunning market comeback

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CNBC’s Jim Cramer offered reasons for Wall Street’s wild reversal Thursday, with the major U.S. stock indexes shaking off steep losses early in the session related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and finishing in the green.

“We’ve had ages to figure out that Russia would invade Ukraine. Our government has been warning us about this on a daily basis for many weeks — it’s one of the reasons we sold off so hard in the last few weeks.” the “Mad Money” host said. “There’s no surprise here, except we still can’t be sure how the war’s going,” he added.

Cramer’s comments come after Russia launched an air, land and naval attack on Ukraine after weeks of speculation about a possible invasion. The ongoing conflict may complicate an economic recovery already hindered by surging inflation and supply chain snarls, including the production of semiconductor chips, which both Russia and Ukraine play key roles in. 

Yet the U.S. stock market proved resilient on Thursday, making a monster recovery after a steep drop earlier in the day. The S&P 500 rose 1.5% after dipping more than 2.6% earlier, while the Nasdaq Composite rose around 3.3% after it was down almost 3.5% at one point. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied around 92 points after dropping 859 points earlier in the session.

Major equity indexes in Europe finished their sessions Thursday firmly in the red, including the pan-European Stoxx 600, which lost over 3%.

Cramer said that robust consumer spending and a healthy job market have helped the U.S. market stay afloat. Buyers might also be looking past Russia’s attack because they view President Joe Biden’s vow to implement wider economic sanctions against Russia as nonplausible, he added.

“Of course, the buyers could be wrong. If our government decides to do a rapid supply of munitions that can fight mechanized troops, that’s not factored in. Massive partisan resistance, not factored in … but at the moment buyers are betting that all of those are long shots,” Cramer said.

Despite the uncertainty, Cramer added that he doesn’t believe investors should empty their portfolios.

“I could play it like most commentators I have heard all day and yesterday: ‘just sell everything’ … I’ll leave that to everyone else” and look for buying opportunities instead, he said.

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