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Cohen's Call and the <I>CNBC</I> Effect

In the old days, this report wouldn't have affected public sentiment until this afternoon. Times have changed.
Author:

The CNBC effect will be the way to judge this Abby Joseph Cohen "take something off the table" call. That's the big change in the investment firmament. There was a time when the Goldman Sachs call would be made, it would percolate among Goldman's clients, and then at 2 p.m. the public would possess the call.

Not anymore.

Now the call gets wide credence before the opening. If this call is hammered home repeatedly on

CNBC

before the market opens, the individual investor, which is the dog, not the tail, as my friend Steve Galbraith has been saying at

Sanford Bernstein

, will fetch bids and bury them.

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This is not like the old days. In the new market, the individual is the marginal buyer or seller and the individual doesn't think about "preserving a quarter" or "window-dressing" or propping up

National Gift Wrap.com

because that will ensure that he finishes up 20%.

The individual just bolts.

Cohen's call took London from plus 20 to minus 58, and it wasn't even about London. I don't want to underestimate the impact, and I want to stress, again, that pockets of institutional strength might be trading opportunities to lighten up if you haven't already.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long 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

jjcletters@thestreet.com.