The hate E-mail comes in every time the market goes down.
Joe E. wants to know why I don't capitulate. Mark R. can't believe I am sticking with the long side. Steve S. compares me to the lamb going to the slaughterhouse.
I am a trader and I think like a trader. Sure I have core longs that these bears would say that I am stuck with. And I genuinely do like certain companies, particularly for the long-term.
But I am neither a moron nor an ideologue. I buy weakness and sell strength, the exact opposite of a momentum player. When
is ramping through the 140s, 150s and 160s, I am letting stock go, sometimes as much as 5,000 every quarter point. I do that because stocks go down, too. And when they go down I buy them.
Ah ha, you bears say, Cramer's just one of those buy-on-the-dips bozos who will get his head handed to him when it finally really goes down.
When things are flying, and it looks like the market will never quit, I usually go in and buy out-of-the-money puts to prepare for the next downturn on names that I love. The puts give me the flexibility of buying the dip without the unlimited loss prospects that come from the dip that cascades into something far worse.
Also, I always have shorts on, a legacy of the time when my office was in the office of Michael Steinhardt, a legendary short-seller. Steinhardt used to review my performance every Thursday and scream bloody murder at me if I had no shorts on -- even if I was convinced the market was going higher.
There's always some fraud somewhere, there's always some vulnerable sector, he used to preach.
And, here's the edge I really have: I like down days. No, I love down days. That's because I know that the go-go high beta boys will give up their humongo leads overnight, leads that they built by taking stocks up day after day after day. Down days allow me to catch up, for I am rarely as long as the Big Boys in the
mutual fund index, my barometer of big money.
So you see I have nothing to capitulate to. Sure I can get smoked in a
, but maybe I am buying the golds for a trade to make a few bucks. Yeah, it pains me when Intel is going down, but maybe I am short some
against it. And, hopefully, my Intel position will have been pared back ahead of time. Maybe the world is focusing on
, and I'm sneaking in to take some
, while nobody is paying attention.
Finally, I do have tremendous disdain for those who have stayed bearish for all of these multiple thousands of points. These people just got it wrong. No ifs ands or buts.
Or how about this: Let's stipulate that I have been a bull for close to 6,000 points. Hey, no flies on me. Why don't I just say I'm taking it off the table? I've got a big win. I'm done playing. It's too high to play. Issue a real Jimmy Rogers/Jim Grant obituary for the market. Nothing's keeping me from walking away from the casino right here.
Except one thing: I am afraid I'd be wrong.
James Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-chairman of
While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he welcomes your feedback, emailed to