Chinks. You see them. I see them.



down a couple is a chink.


(WMT) - Get Report

down a couple is a chink.



down a couple is a chink.


(CLX) - Get Report

, seemingly down every day since that positive Sunday

New York Times

piece a week ago, is another chink.



is still one more.

We have a motley collection of leaders, and we don't want to see chinks in them. Let's take Lucent. Here's a stock that is synonymous with this bull market. Almost everyone who has ever bought this stock has made money in it. This stock is a winner. So when it is down and acting terribly, that casts a pall over the market.


Remember the big print that occurred in TWX at 71 after the market closed Monday? Some people are carrying that stock around like a big steamer trunk on their backs. Heck, you can hear the owners wheezing. Until this print, this stock was nothing but leadership.

So, you say, why doesn't the market just select a bunch of new leaders?

Doesn't work like that. If there are problems at Lucent, they could be in telco-tech, semi-tech and enterprise system buying at the RBOC or CLEC or ISP level. That's bad news for 10% of the



Same with Time Warner. Is it consumer spending that's slowing? Is it cable? Is it entertainment? Lots of ramifications there, too.

Of course, we could chalk up the weakness to sloppy sellers in all of these stocks. That longer term, nothing matters. But I am trying to show you what colors a day's trading. If we were watching a basketball game, we would be bemoaning the performance of the market's center. Seems like he is a bum. The guards aren't making up for it.

No time-outs. Gotta play with this line-up. Wish we had other people in.

But we don't. And right now they aren't pulling their weight.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long Wal-Mart and Merrill, although positions can 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