Alan and His Sidekick AOL

These two forces rode to the market's rescue today.
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Alan Greenspan and America Online (AOL) have one thing in common: They both brought back a market that they had double-handledly brought down the last few weeks.

Greenspan's good-natured joking and lack of vigilance gave you the signal that the market was OK for a trade. And AOL's ability to rally, something that it had not been able to do gave the Net a huge lift.

What a crime that these stocks all trade as hostage to each other.



, which benefits from open, free access, gets hurt by decisions made by AOL that limit free access or decisions made by


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that cause people to worry about ISP price wars. That's stupid. But it is typical of young groups of relatively unseasoned stocks.

Not that long ago, when a price war would ignite among personal computer companies, everybody sold down the boxmakers and the chipmakers. This pattern was something you could take to the bank. Now, we know better. A price war is viewed as a reason to buy


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because its value stays intact and it sells more chips in a price war.

One day, the Net will make sense too. We will know that something that is bad for AOL may be good for Yahoo!. Until then, these stocks trade "stupidly." Of course that is a great opportunity, but in the meantime, it is a real pain in the butt to game given how counterintuitive the action is.

The only surprise today was the dip in the financials near the end.

These seemed like they had clear sailing after Greenspan, but worries about some higher-than-expected GDP number tomorrow winged the stocks at the end of the day.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long AOL, Yahoo! and Intel. 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