Day Traders and Market Makers

Publish date:

publishes selected email received by the publication and its staff members. To send an email intended for publication in this section, email and include your full name and city. Letters may be edited for length, clarity, accuracy and style.

Gone Fishing

Jim Cramer: I don't disagree with

you that the .com has offered and will offer trading opportunities in the short term. But the anthropoids won't be the ones who thought the Net caught fish -- the anthropoids will be the ones who bought a piece of the marginal Net players and got caught.

Stefan Rosen

(received 12/24)

Read All About It

Gary B. Smith: As a long time trader -- and retired Series 7 option specialist -- I must say, I consider this Dec. 23

column of yours the very best ever written on the subject. I'm hoping all my new-to-the-market wannabe day traders read it. Happy holidays.

Arline Brecher

(received 12/23)

Show Me the Bug

Cory Johnson: You are, of course, quite correct when you

say, "After all, computers were designed by geniuses, not idiots." If there's one thing I've learned from thirty years of building, programming and repairing computers, it's that the users can be idiots. We've been telling the guys with the money bags about what could happen in 1999 for over two decades. They said they "didn't want to spend the money." There's a sign over my desk. It says, "Pay Me Now Or Pay Me More Later." Happy 2000.

Timothy A. Gleason

(received 12/22)

On the Air with WY2K

Cory Johnson: I have been reading the


articles on Y2K and they don't leave a great deal of confidence that the world will be the same after Jan. 1, 2000.

I asked a radio station owner friend of mine how the radio industry is handling the Y2K problem. His response was "I haven't heard a lot of concern. Radio is a big believer in redundancy, e.g., we have multiple studios and transmitter sites. I don't think radio has that much exposure. Almost all of our computers are less than two years old. People will look to us for comfort. Radio people are their friends."

His response made me think of things that might bring "comfort" to a world populace that will obviously be very stressed. I can't speak for radio transmitter stations, but certainly radios themselves should not be exposed to the Y2K problem.

There is talk, however, that water and power stations are exposed. These are the most fundamental elements to the operation of a modern society. Is radio going to be the only means of communication? Will we be set back in time to when people huddled around the radio for news, information and peace of mind?

Chas Humphreyson

(received 12/21)

Negative Proclivity

Peter Eavis: What a hatchet job of an

article! Is Nick Brady the yardstick with which to measure the performance of a stalwart like Rubin? This whole article sounded like as if sound bites had been manufactured to satisfy one person's negative proclivity. I expected better from the


Asuri Rajagopalan

(received 12/21)

Article of Impeachment

Jim Griffin: Your Dec. 21

article, "Throwing Wild Punches in Washington," misses the point of what happened in Washington entirely.

First, the allegation made that President Clinton sent troops to detract attention in no way could be seen as a "devastating knockout blow" and it is unlikely that it was intended as such. The entire hypothesis is clearly ridiculous.

Secondly, if the impeachment process seemed to you to be "in the nature of political theater, alternately high drama and low farce" then you have a rather perverted and antisocial sense of reality.

People in Washington, on both sides of the aisle, are struggling with what they feel are important matters for the country, and your arrogant tone of superiority is obnoxious. Unlike you, most Americans really do care about their country. You should start looking around you a little more.

Eric Hirvonen

(received 12/21)

Pernicious Effect of Prejudgment

Dave Kansas: Regarding


decision to disallow Mr. Cramer from co-hosting the Dec. 15 "Squawk Box," I was aghast to learn that he was prejudged and punished before the outcome of


investigation was known. Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? I realize that persons in position of trust must not only act aboveboard, but that they should also be seen to be so. However, I think


stepped beyond bounds of human decency in this instance.

Could it be that they overreacted because of the potential of viewer backlash leading to decreased revenues? Most probably. Nevertheless, such action is unjust, if not unconscionable. Why would CNBC give WavePhore the benefit of the doubt but not extend the same privilege to James Cramer?

I watched this particular show and observed that Mr. Cramer did his job, as any impartial analyst would have done. Frankly, I also read WavePhore's SEC filings and could not justify giving my "two bits," pardon the vernacular, to this company -- then and even now. Pertaining to the premise that he intended to debase the company on television in order to profitably cover short sales or to buy the stock cheaper, why suspend him before the investigation is completed? I would hate to think that even "touts" who shroud themselves with titles like CEO, CFO, president, etc., are treated more favorably by the media.

The pernicious effect of prejudgment is that questions of job suitability, ability to exercise tact when dealing with sensitive issues, etc., encroach upon the minds of the listeners -- and even when vindicated, no amount of apology or retraction can completely erase the stigma.

Don't misunderstand me. I don't have rigid moralistic or profound anti- establishment sentiments. I love profits and always strive to win. However, I will not unjustly destroy anyone's career, or reduce him to penury to achieve these profits.

From afar, I believe that Mr. Cramer is a decent and sincere person. The prose of his writings may not be as brilliant as the summer sun, but he is an excellent communicator. He uses concise, direct and simple words such that anyone from the Street can quickly understand.

Now, to answer the question begging to be asked: Why am I doing this? I know of Mr. Cramer only through


"Squawk Box." I don't need or want anything from Mr. Cramer or from


. I merely feel the need to speak up whenever I see an injustice done.

Nestor D. Ablog

(received 12/19)

Man on the Hill

Joe Bousquin: Good

column on life among the Martians! Despite the disasters of the markets this year, they offered a relative mental sanctuary for those of us living near this pathetic town. Your solution is very attractive as a prerequisite to running for office. Many politicians apparently have had multiple lobotomies. Why not a few more!

The present generation of couldn't-care-less individuals on the Hill far exceed any of the accused in their own level of blatant hypocrisy. Indeed, there seems little shame nor much intellect left in Congress. If our economy survives them, it will be in spite of their mindless self-interest. Whither the country's needs in the midst of this chaos? We need to further clean House in the next election. Senate too!

Edward Powell

(received 12/21)

What You Show is What You Get

George Mannes: Did you miss the

point of the MarketWatch change?

In the last two months a way of figuring the "value" of Internet companies has come forward. It relies on how much the company is spending to grow itself among Internet users. By using rate-card numbers instead of actual numbers, MarketWatch inflates that side of the equation, to its advantage. It looks like more is being invested in company growth than actually is.

When the name of the (absurd) game is what you show you spend rather than what you earn, it's the play to make.

Rey Barry

(received 12/21)

Kinkade Copy Shop

Suzanne Kapner: Just wanted to say you wrote an excellent

article on Kinkade yesterday, and cannot agree more regarding the "overuse" of his images. As a person that became attracted to his work (having two pieces) a couple of years ago, I cannot say how ugly it has become, in a very short period of time, to see the volumes now produced and the number of materials that bare the images of Kinkade's paintings.

It used to be that each painting was released in two sizes with a few thousand in each size (canvas signed and numbered). Now, there are three sizes of each painting and the number is almost 6,000 for each size. Also, the latest trick Media Arts has undertaken is to come up with secondary offerings. After the 6,000 of each size is sold out, they will release a secondary offering with equal numbers made. Bottom line, where there used to be about 5-6,000 total for each image, Media Arts now produces approximately 36,000 canvases. This does not include the Artist and Studio proofs, as well as yet a new type they produce (I think they call it Signature). All these numbers may not mean anything unless you have looked at how they produce the prints, but rest assured they are flooding the market. If I owned the stock I would be selling. My wife and I are looking for a new artist to buy, as we feel Kinkade has already lost its value and is too common.

Kevin Strange

(received 12/17)

Finger on the Button

Yesterday (12/14/98) was NOTHING compared to

October 8. October 8th of 1998 was more like October of 1962. We were so close to nuclear annihilation, but it didn't happen. October 8 of this year could have easily led to economic annihilation, but it didn't happen. The reason for the mind-numbing fear was REAL, not imagined. Once you have gazed into the gaping maw of total destruction, you get perspective. December 14th was a walk in the park.

Joe Giarratano

(received 12/15)

Full Service This Lane

Jim Cramer: I enjoy your writing and market insights most of the time, but

today you are wrong.

There are plenty of people that will never work with me ... that is fine. But there are MORE people who want to have a relationship with a trusted professional to help them do the right thing. Most people know they CAN do it themselves, but would rather not. Doing it and doing it right are very different. Just like working on your own car or cooking your own food: Others can do it better for a reasonable cost. I rent plenty of movies for $3 ... but also pay twice that to get the theater experience as well. There is room for both.

I cannot speak for other firms, but no online house can touch the resources of a firm like Merrill, and resources and relationships are still what my biz is all about. What I do is not just execute transactions -- ask my clients, who have been shown how to become a "disciplined investor," not some foolish day trader who only makes more money for his discount broker by trading more than he should. Many clients have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by proper estate planning (try that on the Web!). It is not hard to offset the approximately 1% to 1.5% cost of doing business with me ... just ask my clients!

Brian Pisacich
Financial Consultant, Merrill Lynch

(received 12/13)

Two Sides ...

Cory Johnson: Very scary ... but thanks much for the

insight! I guess where ignorance (of Graham, Dodd & Cottle) is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.

John O'Donnell

(received 12/14)

... to Every Story

Cory Johnson: Just when I start to give


some credit for providing meaningful, insightful commentary on the market, I read that terrible

piece of yours about some clown in Ohio that gets lucky "day trading." With everything the West Coast has to offer you decide to waste your time -- and consequently the time of your subscribers -- with that crap?

Kevin Hart

(received 12/14)

The New Reality

Jim Cramer: Yeah, full-service

brokers are in trouble, no question. Guess what other industry has a BIG problem -- mutual funds. How well has that industry served the customer? I tell ya, I regret buying almost every mutual fund I've ever had. There were a few exceptions, but nowhere near enough to convince me they are better than my own stock picks.

When full-service commission prices collapse, a lot of people are going to question the fees they are forking over for pathetic fund performance. I may be wrong about this, but a big "draw" for funds is that their pooled money lowers trading costs. Trading costs are no longer a problem for the individual.

Being the optimist, I like to think a restructured brokerage and fund industry will benefit the customer. After all, the appeal of the Internet is ultimately based on the efficiencies the Net has created. The sooner the financial industry adjusts to the new reality, the better.

John Heilbronn

(received 12/13)

Making Money Off the Little Guy

Jim Cramer: After reading your

rewrite of your market-makers column I felt compelled to stick my two cents' worth in. I believe that everybody who does business is entitled to a fair profit for their efforts. Nobody is going to work for zero or negative profits, market makers or anyone else. But the over-the-counter market has screwed us over good in the years before the fed stepped in, so I don't think it is unreasonable to see a lot of mistrust out there. These guys had plenty of time and opportunity to clean themselves up, but the pickings were too good.

Maybe this "hatred" is more of a revenge factor than anything else, but in all honesty, they brought it on themselves. No question that we need liquid markets, but I think we all would like some assurance that we are not getting ripped off in the process. Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.

is the first place that has given all of us small fry a forum to air our grievances and frustrations. Keep up the good work.

Jim Mc Caulley

(received 12/13)