Away From the Quote Machine, It's Nothing but Angst

And with stocks now down 6, 9 or 12 on a bad day, that's understandable.
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Had to do the call-in today. Away from the desk. I had a hunch things were going to be bad because I was away from a quote machine and whenever I'm away from a quote machine, I suffer justifiable angst. In the old days when I called in, the drill was pretty simple. You wanted to know where the problems were, what was down a lot, what needed attention. Occasionally, you had a stock that was off a couple and had to be dealt with.

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Now when you call in, it's nothing but pain. Every stock you ask about on a down day is 6 or 9 or 12 points lower. When you're there and in the milieu you can deal. But after asking for three quotes that together added up to about 25 points shed, I didn't want to ask any more. When you live by the $200 stock, you die by it.

Fortunately, I called in at what looked to be the low of the day and we put money to work on the spot after analyzing the

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comments and considering the macro backdrop. To me it sounded like a yawner of a reason to send the market down. I know had I been there I would have felt the full brunt. But

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had to keep me from buying things hand over fist because I thought it sounded like such a good opportunity.

It won't be any easier for me tomorrow. I'm reading in my kid's kindergarten class. I won't know if my buys were good ones at the opening.

But if that's what I'm worried about tomorrow morning, shame on me!

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

jjcletters@thestreet.com.