The stock market has cooled off some after setting a series of record highs over the past two months, but it's not a greenlight to start buying, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Monday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average pulled back more than 268 points, or almost 1%, and the S&P 500 fell more than 27 points, or 0.86%, during Monday's trading session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite also shed about 97 points, or 1.12%.
The indexes are all more than 1.2% off their highs that came before the Thanksgiving holiday, according to FactSet.
"We got hammered today," Cramer said on "Mad Money," "and it was much more of a hammering than any of the averages [appeared], because there's not enough negativity. Once people start worrying again, stocks will come down to more reasonable levels and then you can pounce, but we're not there yet."
The technology sector, especially the cloud segment, felt the brunt of the negative Monday trading. The sell-off was triggered in part by institutional investors seeking to pocket their gains during the first trading days of a new month, Cramer noted. Stocks grouped in exchange-traded funds were further dragged by the activity as witnessed in the past, he said.
"We've seen it regularly since the software-as-a-service meltdown in April of 2014," Cramer said. "You have to be careful because these kinds of moves can be brutal and, more important, they can be longer-lasting than the typical dip. In 2014 the whole group got hammered, led by Salesforce.com, which plunged from $67 to $48."
Salesforce, the customer relationship management cloud platform, is slated to report third-quarter earnings Tuesday afternoon. While the stock is about $3 off its November high and the company has consistently topped Wall Street estimates, Cramer warned that investors should be cautious approaching this one because it "may be rolling over" with the cloud cohort.
He pointed out that the security had "four major declines since 2014" and that they were "multiday or even multiweek shellackings."
"If you're nimble enough to be a trader, then I actually would lighten up here and then buy it back at a lower level, but for most people that's a bad piece of advice," Cramer said. "I think you should stick with it through the pain because you never know if you'll be fast enough to actually get back in [at] a better price."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Salesforce.com