This column was originally published on RealMoney on May 19 at 12:15 p.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers.
So what's the tenor here? Someone emails me that on the
H&E Equipment Services
call, the crane renter, that there is an extreme imbalance between crane supply and demand and he wants to know whether to buy
. I don't tell individuals whether a stock is appropriate for them, but I would ask, simply, "What is the point?" If the fundamentals mattered,
would be at $90,
at $40 and
How long can that last? I don't know, anyone remember 1987 besides me? When we had an options week like this where the market just kept rolling over and it was the worst week ever, until the next one?
No, I am not saying we are in crash mode. I am saying that many stocks, including stocks that have been up a lot because of commodity demand, are being killed. They are being killed because the speculation must cease. If someone from the
were on that H&E call, he would be saying, "Let's take rates up 100 basis points in an emergency meeting before things get too out of hand."
Let me use the example of
, which may be, pound for pound, the worst-trading stock I have ever owned. Here is a company that this very week told you that things were better than they have ever been, that the balance sheet is great, that the order book is huge and that it is in shape to, if it wants, do a buyback.
Or Halliburton, which is buying its stock back hand over fist. No one wants that sucker. Or
, which reported a gigantic quarter, first in years, is printing money, and is getting sold off as if we are in a recession!
Right now, the fundies are not in control. The ETF selling, the obvious margined selling -- seem reminiscent of 2000 again, except this time it is in the titanium and coppers? -- and the panicked selling of those who fear a crash, even as we get it, are in charge.
I am almost tempted to tell you to stop focusing and just wait until we are down another 500 points on the
to do more buying. Really wide scales.
But I see stuff that is too cheap and I can't resist.
Picking and then waiting for another level.
By the way, there are tons of people who are second-guessing the strategy of picking on the way down, including some on this site. But if it's such a losing strategy, why did it make me so much money, including during one crash, one mini-crash, two meltdowns of the
and the financials and in 2001?
But that's the way it goes. I have thick skin.
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