This post appeared earlier today on RealMoney. Click here for a free trial, and enjoy incisive commentary all day, every day.
People ask me why I am so often freaked out about what is happening daily in this market. Let me give you four reasons: Sheldon Adelson, Sumner Redstone, Howard Lester and Aubrey McClendon.
All four of these gentlemen got overextended and bought too much of their own stock or the stock of another company and got margined out.
These are great American businessmen. They are much smarter than I am -- much smarter than almost any people in business -- and they completely and utterly screwed up. You cannot possibly say that they did anything else.
Howard Lester created
. He built that company into the best housewares company in the world with a name synonymous with quality. He is a titan. Lester sold 1,150,000 Williams-Sonoma shares to meet margin calls at prices that are down so huge from the highs as to make me think that if he doesn't know what to do -- and he clearly doesn't -- with his company or his stock, how the heck am I to know?
the first time Sumner Redstone took it private in the early 1980s. It was one of my first hits. The man was legendary back then as a shrewd wheeler-dealer who understood both the stock market and the entertainment industry better than anyone I have ever seen. What's he done? He's gone and blown himself up, having to sell
stock at levels that are not to be believed. To think he had to come on the conference call and talk about his own financial problems and how they won't force him to sell any more CBS even though the situation hasn't been resolved is just preposterous. How can I understand CBS and Viacom and recognize their pitfalls if the creator of Viacom and the master of CBS doesn't know?
What's happened to
Aubrey McClendon makes me sick to my stomach. Here's a guy who has made all of the right moves. We even talked on "Mad Money" about how if you bought when he did you almost always made money.
But he was buying with borrowed funds, and he got crushed. Just crushed. And he had to sell at the low. How can I know Chesapeake if he didn't? Aubrey has taught me pretty much everything I needed to know about oil and gas, and he gets blown out? And I am not supposed to be confused?
Finally, there's Sheldon Adelson. This man is a remarkable visionary who built
Las Vegas Sands
into a global powerhouse. He had an equity offering in February 2006 that was one of the greatest buys of all time. Earlier this year, my friend Matt Horween, who does amazing accounting work, clued me in that Adelson's casino may not be able to make it; I quickly put it into the sell block after hearing all of the negatives. Adelson's in big trouble because he has borrowed so much money for his baby, which looks like it will now be thrown out with the bathwater.
Four men. Four seasoned players. Four guys who didn't see it coming.
So how are we supposed to?
At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in the stocks mentioned.
Jim Cramer is co-founder and chairman of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for
Action Alerts PLUS. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" weeknights on CNBC. To order Cramer's newest book -- "Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer),"
click here. Click
here to order "Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich," click
here to order "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click
here to get "You Got Screwed!" and click
here for Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback and invites you to send comments by
TheStreet.com has a revenue-sharing relationship with Amazon.com under which it receives a portion of the revenue from Amazon.com purchases by customers directed there from TheStreet.com.