Seven years ago, when Jeff Berkowitz joined me fresh out of Goldman Sachs (GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (The) Report, he happened to take a call from a broker saying that Bristol-Myers (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report was guiding the Street lower in earnings estimates.
It was a sleepy Friday, a summer Friday, like today. The stock was unchanged when the broker rang up with the negative rap. Jeff rattled the call off to me, and we both hit the stock up simultaneously.
We looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. Guess, nobody cares, we said. No money to be made there.
And then it hit us. Hold it. This is a big call. BMY is a big steady grower. You can't cut numbers on Bristol without killing the darn thing. BMY makes it numbers come heck or high water!
We bought a ton of puts in line. Didn't even faze the stock. (Usually that's instant pain for the common.)
An hour later, the stock was down 4. It got rocked. The call had finally percolated, and the damage got done.
That's how Wall Street is on Fridays. Burt Malkiel may make millions plying his theory of instant information and instant reaction. But his
Random Walk Down Wall Street
obviously was not a summer Friday stroll, though.
So, be careful on days like today. Information takes longer to percolate and have impact on beautiful Fridays in New York than on any other days.
And people are much slower to react both to good and bad news. Lots of money can be made by being quickly while others are getting a
. Don't get discouraged if a big call doesn't work right out of the box.
It just doesn't work like that today.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Bristol-Myers and Goldman Sachs. 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