What got into
in those last few minutes? Bank error in all of our favor? Gift from the Finnish gods of profit? Someone seeking to be up 500% in one year? More name-your-own-closing-price?
This year, which has seen the sanctity of just about everything else in this business go up in a bullish cloud of smoke, also took apart the holiness of the closing price. Nobody was ever supposed to manipulate that. Sure, it happened. A point or two got tacked on by some manager trying to make up some performance. A crime, but not one easily prosecuted.
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Now closing prices get thrown around like buses in a Godzilla movie. It is crazy. They don't mean jack. Nokia went up 10 points in the time it takes to go from downtown to midtown, without a gridlock alert.
I saw it happen in a whole bunch of stocks I own. The only people it hurts, of course, are the short-sellers, and they have no standing, so I guess nothing will ever happen to the kind souls (law enforcement authorities, read "outlaws").
But it has put a whole new element of phoniness into the equation. Is nothing in this market going to be the same after 1999 as before?
You know where I stand.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Nokia. 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