Lots of talk that today was just like Oct. 28, 1997. You know, when the market rallied really big after the down-500 day before and we were off to the races.
In 1997 we were in nirvana land. We knew that East Asia was bad, but we thought that would hurt a couple of semiconductor equipment stocks and Japan. We figured we would actually be a beneficiary because interest rates would go lower. The
would not have to tighten. We could buy
Procter & Gamble
. A buying spree was justified.
Now look at the world. It turns out that East Asia was so bad that even the Procters got hurt. It turns out that the brokerages were heavily leveraged to this stuff, including Russia, through the hedge fund community.
Tech? Who knows who is safe?
And we were too right about the bonds. The yield curve got inverted, wrecking the pricing power for savings and loans, once one of the market's most popular groups.
In other words, we could load the boat up in 1997 and get giant gains. This time we could put on some good trades, but we have to go and soon, because who knows what the next quarter brings us. That's why I liken this rally to one of those head-fake 1990-type moves that will ultimately take us lower.
How fast? There's some momentum. People like reversals. People like advance/decline line shifts. People like giant volume turnarounds on Tuesdays. There's plenty of cash on the sidelines and a ton of bears.
Give it a week. Maybe.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-chairman 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 a letter to TheStreet.com at