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Can Merrill Lynch Save the Day?

With its calls on both retail and tech, combined with other analysts' moves, you get considerable upward pressure.
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Merrill Lynch

save the day? Sometimes it comes down to that. Merrill made many bullish calls today on both retail and tech. When you couple that with

Lehman Brothers'



call and the

America Online


boost from


, you get some considerable upward pressure.

When the market is funky and it tries to make a turn usually it is the vast promotional machine of Wall Street that is the catalyst. Yesterday, for example, it seemed that

Abby Joseph Cohen's

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call might be able to do something, but

Goldman Sachs

really didn't get behind that call with some stocks to buy. So it was ho-hum.

This morning, however, we had Merrill making a top pick kind of call that can really get brokers energized (especially when you consider how negative Merrill has been about this market, particularly the retailers). At the same time Lehman has a lot of research credibility of late, so its call has some traction. (Remember, that's Wall Street speak for making people dance to your music.)

Can it last? I don't know, we don't have any rubberneck


guys speaking and we seem to be without any big earnings blowups. (I don't think

Superior Telecom


qualifies.) If oil would simply behave for 30 seconds, I think yes.

In the meantime we are going to more meetings, still searching for the elusive unknown story.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long Yahoo!, America Online and Goldman Sachs. 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