One-third, one-third, one-third. Remember, that's how I view my selloffs. One-third of the stocks you are looking at in your screen have probably bottomed. Another third -- anybody's guess. And the bottom third? Still good shorts. This is not the same as buy-on-dips, which is too pat for me and is a
overstatement of what has occurred in the past.
Which is the buyable third? As
, our editor-in-chief,
points out, Asia is key. Those companies that have fessed up to Asian problems loud and clear have probably bottomed. They are the one-third. That's why I keep harping on
old tech. Those companies fessed up first and loudest.
That's why even though I don't like
near-term, it seems done going down. It is why I am long
. It is why
it is not a shock
, despite what the press said, that
still sees weakness in Asia. Cisco said this months ago.
At a dinner I went to in February, Cisco was adamant that people were way too optimistic about Asia. They could not have been more downbeat. That's why it was a no-surpriser that Asia has stayed tough for them. In fact, the notion that it had not gotten worse was actually a positive!!! Same with the Compaqs and
of the world. These companies have been talking about Asia for almost a year already.
Another group that has fessed up is the banks. In fact, the banks have less exposure to Asia now than they did three months ago and much less than they did six months ago. That's why I bought the banks yesterday. They've been
The second third, the tough third, is the
Procter & Gambles
. They told us not to worry and then that turned out to be wrong. They just fessed up, which means that we don't know what the future holds. We have had the stocks punished, but unlike tech and the banks, the denial these guys voiced earlier is now killing their stocks. No one knows for sure how bad it really is for PG. We
know how bad it is for AMAT.
The final third? Oil and oil service, for example. These guys still haven't bitten the bullet. They still haven't guided lower. They are still in denial. Forget about those. Forget about anybody in denial. Anybody.
There's the world in thirds. Don't panic; think.
: Please, panickers, don't forget that the last half-hour had no corporate buying. That won't be the case today as the corporate treasurers are on the alert that their stocks got pummeled at the bell and I suspect they will take loosely the
Securities and Exchange Commission
guideline that says no buying after 3:30 p.m. EDT. That guideline keeps treasurers from walking their stocks up. It doesn't apply for those who wish to stabilize their stocks at lower levels.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-chairman of TheStreet.com.
At the time of publication his fund was long Cisco, Compaq, IBM and Intel, though 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 by sending a letter to TheStreet.com at