Many of you benefited from the great rally call we revealed last Thursday, in an
article about a potential reversal day. Since then, dozens of you have asked how we made that call -- what we saw, how we knew.
First, let's talk about chance and humility, the two gods that control the process of the stock market. There is always a certain amount of luck involved, and to not talk about luck is to border on arrogance, if not stake out the arrogant camp entirely. One of the reasons I don't like to make these rally calls is that many times things don't pan out. Something goes wrong. We screw it up and the ramifications are vicious. We are humble enough to know that truth. And it's bad enough to eat crow privately. To have it served in front of 100,000 of your best readers is a true revenge repast.
But sometimes you have a call and you know in your bones it's right. That's how we felt last Thursday.
First, let me introduce you to the full cast of characters. The key man in this rally call was
, our head trader. Todd's stock in trade is making the big call on the market. He's a fabulous technician and a total heads-up player. Trader all-star if ever there were one.
Todd came to me at about 6:15 a.m. on Thursday and laid out a scenario, which went like this: The last five Fridays have been down. Everybody expects that the same pattern will hold. So all day Thursday the anticipators, the hedge funds who try to get an edge, will be putting out shorts and selling stocks to front run Friday's action. Todd's logic seemed cogent to me. Anytime anybody at a hedge fund detects a pattern, he plays the hunch. He almost can't resist. You have to factor the trigger-happy hedge funds into the game.
Matt "HotHand" Jacobs
had just breezed back on the red-eye -- it's starting to annoy me that he never seems tired -- after seeing two dozen companies at
, and he was more than eager to put money to work in his favorite names, including some that he felt incredibly strongly about. (Most of these names are reflected in the
speech I gave at the
conference on Tuesday.)
and I were more concerned about something else, the Big Bad Event, the unemployment number that came out on
Friday. We took a look at the moving average of hiring and went down all of the macro numbers of late from retail sales to autos. We made calls all morning to bond types we respect. The result: We thought we might get a softer-than-expected number.
Bingo. We felt we had the big call.
To read the second part of this article, follow this
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. 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