A Close That Smacked of Programs

With machine-driven selling raiding the close, there was no getting your bids down fast enough.
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Sloppy play! Ugly buying and selling! All I can say is that I am glad it is over and can't imagine having to trade 'round the clock with this kind of craziness. That's what we need, extended sessions of this kind of mindlessness.

What happened today? What was that last half-hour about? To me it smacked of one nauseating program like we used to have a few months ago when those bizarre sell'em-if-they-are-down mutual funds raided the close. There was no getting your bids down fast enough, as it was all machine-driven.

(I know this because I speak to real-live traders all day and they were not working big orders, say, of

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

, or

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

or

Sun Micro

(SUNW) - Get Report

at the bell, to name three heavily sold off stocks.)

Does that mean you can just go buy them because it was "program" selling? Absolutely not. The selling was just wildly exaggerated in velocity NOT size. There was not a lot of stock to blow out of at the bell.

Small solace for those long

NDX

stocks. But solace nonetheless.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Microsoft and Cisco. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

letters@thestreet.com.