Beware of 3Com Fallout

The trader is sticking with bonds, beer, bread and bath. If you want excitement, go to the movies.
Author:
Publish date:

Yogi

would have been thrilled about Tuesday night's

3Com

(COMS)

call. It was a virtual picnic basket for the bears.

Enterprise? Slowing. Personal computers? Slowing. Corporate spending? Dwindling. Latin America? Awful.

Jellystone National Park

never had it so good. Not a ranger in sight.

Of course, the collateral fallout from this bear bonanza will rock pretty much all aspects of tech, as 3Com has enough communications business to thwart any sort of telco-as-pillar-of-strength business. And the gloom was so palpably honest that it is hard to resist blaming 3Com for 3Com.

Sure, maybe this will be it, the crescendo of selling that we need to get tech to a level where bears have had their fill. But I don't think so. Too many loose ends. Looks like a ton of $800 personal computers are getting sold, but nobody's making a dime off them.

How do you play it? Again I come back to bonds, beer, bread and bath. I want those boring consumer plays that never go out of style and I want bonds, which, judging by the magnitude of the slowdown in the chief engine of the economy -- computer spending -- as outlined by 3Com, make too much sense here.

I know that's a recipe for boring investing -- and possibly boring articles. But if you want excitement, go to the movies.

It is capital preservation time, and will remain that way until somebody can confirm that things have started to get better in personal computers. Where I am sitting, all I can say is: Don't hold your breath.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. 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 an email to letters@thestreet.com.