We parted with our
Friday. It was sweet, not sorrowful. We have owned it for months and we have watched it go up and down and up and down and finally we decided, in the end, it wasn't going anywhere.
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I had a pang of withdrawal yesterday at
when I saw the giant dispenser of
. Seemed like a good bargain. But, frankly, while we may have space on our countertops for Liquid Dial, we don't have any space on our sheets.
We often speak of opportunity costs when owning stocks. For Dial, not only was there opportunity cost -- the sale freed up capital that could be used in better places -- being lost, but also, more important, it took up a line on our sheets. One of the battles of portfolio management is to keep your sheets (the lists of positions) lean. You don't want page after page of positions; nobody can keep up with that effectively. You want focused sheets.
and I go down our sheets constantly, trying to figure out what should be owned and what can be parted with. As long as we had Dial on the sheets, we felt constrained to take something else off to make room for a stock that could move up in a, well,
And who can blame us? Today, we would have been fretting about
effect on Dial or whether
is going to move in against Dial, or whether its raw costs are going up or its share points going down. What a pain in the zero-sum butt!
So, good riddance. Think about it: If Dial makes its quarter, it doesn't go down. If Dial misses its quarter, it gets cut in half. If Dial gets a takeover bid, it goes up 7 points. What a crummy risk-reward.
Once again, we want to be short stocks that move in quarter-point increments and be long those that move in 10-point skeins. Until this tape changes to be more negative toward tech -- and I don't see that happening any time soon.
: Notice the selloff in
today? That is related to the upside pressure subsiding from the short-call position I talked about this weekend.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of the original publication, his fund was long Microsoft. 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