Tell me this market doesn't have a brilliant counterintuitive mind of its own. For two days, there was mindless hoopla over
10,000. Like we were all supposed to do our patriotic duty and go out and buy a Dow stock to ensure that we stayed north of that benchmark.
And then nothing. No more talk about Dow 10,000. No more discussion of the three-hour specials. For me, no more calls from TV bookers asking for availability -- forget about it! The little 10,000 episode, chronicled absurdly by the
types, was history, replaced by dour faces and grim tidings about how the market had gotten ahead of itself and shouldn't have been at 10,000 at all!
Suddenly, yesterday and this morning, put buyers were everywhere. I saw monster put buying in the
Philadelphia Bank Index
and in a host of rolling-over tech stocks. I saw massive
put buying and a lot of PC put buying.
was supposed to be a precursor to the other drug stocks on the way down. I must have heard the phrase "run out of steam" a dozen times from a dozen brokers and at least two dozen times from commentators on TV, who were desperate to come up with something to say about the post-10,000 action. It was like the bull/bear ratio had suddenly swung to 52% bear instead of bull.
Sometimes all you need to know is which way people are leaning in the short term in order to bet against them and make money. Yesterday was a day when I started hearing that we would see 9500 before we saw 10,000.
gave his end-of-the-world
spiel -- Get me an ark and a couple dozen animals! -- and several "savvy" hedge funds were going short. Wrong!
I know that I think much of this trading today is expiration-related. But some of it, especially the financial buying, seems very real. It makes my query yesterday about the banks -- What am I missing? -- seem pointed.
The answer? Nothing. The stocks are on fire.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At the time of publication, his fund was long Chase Manhattan Bank, though positions 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 by sending a letter to TheStreet.com.