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Another Bank Shot

First Union's profit warning strikes another blow to the banking sector, which is still reeling from yesterday's downgrades by CS First Boston.
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Here's a new one:

First Union


blows up and calls it a transition year.

What is the company doing? Angling for the first draft choice? Trying to work a big trade? Someone tell First Union this isn't pro sports. There are no transition years in business. We don't wait until next year. We sell you, and we find someone else who can do the job.

Nevertheless, this blowup will color a whole industry that was still dazed by yesterday's putdown by Mike Mayo, the respected

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Credit Suisse First Boston

analyst. (Will we ever see "disrespected" or "widely criticized" before the name of an analyst? If we ever do, it won't be before Mayo, who made a pretty prescient call in light of this news.)

Quarters aren't supposed to blow up this early into the proceedings. These guys at First Union don't even have May number yet. Stinkeroooniemcfaddie!

So the game continues. The Net looks like the thing you use after you've gaffed a fish to bring it into the charter. Banks look like they need to hide behind Y2K problems to explain the core weakness. Tech? Rough.

Another day at the office begins.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of 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