Extended Hours: The Choice Is Yours

James Cramer

: In response to your column

Times When Trading Takes a Back Seat, I'm all in favor of actively setting priorities in life. However, no one will force you to trade longer hours once extended hours come into being. If you do, it will be your own decision. Lots of people have jobs where the more they work, the more they make -- for themselves and their partners/shareholders. Some of those people make the "wrong" decisions and face the consequences. Many others draw the line and are happy.

As a side comment, I must say that as a businessman and a consumer I find myself increasingly annoyed at artificial time fences. The world is rapidly becoming 24/7, and I for one like it. This factor combined with the tendency toward openness seems to put strong impetus behind the extended-hours movement.

-- Ronald Guest

(received 5/24)

James Cramer

: Thank you for arguing that

extending trading hours shouldn't happen. But it sure looks like it is going to happen, and soon.

However, it takes participants to make a market. What if, as we used to say in the '60s, "they gave a market, but no one came?" How much nonparticipation by the key players would it take before the extended hours would be withdrawn?

-- Charles Ehm

(received 5/24)

Small-Cap Pharma Fever

Jesse Eisinger

: In response to your story

Biotech's Small-Cap Sickness May Be Catching, it's disturbing, yes, but inevitably Big Pharma will have to step up to the plate.

Consider that the

FDA

approved only 38 New Molecular Entities last year -- a record low over the past decade. Given that NMEs are where the real money is, Big Pharma has to find a way to fill its pipe with something other than the next knockoff of

Rezulin

or

Zyprexa

.

Big Pharma has been choosy with its biotech investments to date because it could afford to be, and because it was underwritten by the Street.

Odds are that in the next five years that will change, and they will have to start funding more of this outscored R&D, unless genomics investments begin to pay off big time. And economies of scale can be realized at the discovery stage, which is what all these merger partners are praying for as they rationalize R&D.

Could it be that the golden age of pharmaceuticals is over? If so, it will restore a lot of people's faith in basic economics.

-- Nathan Dowden

(received 5/20)

Pumping Up Privatization

Jonah Goldberg

: In response to your article

Forbes Pumps Up Social Security Issue, and His Image, I'm writing to say I have been interested in his candidacy ever since I heard him address the

Commonwealth Club

in San Francisco. I was impressed then, and am now, with the seriousness with which he is approaching his candidacy.

As an "older person," aged 59 years, my concerns are for my daughter and grandson. I propose that before anyone is allowed to sign up for privatization, they should be required to sign a pledge that if and when it goes belly up, they are not eligible for welfare and food stamps. I am not being cynical, just realistic. The cynic would say, "So what? The system is bankrupt as it is, so what do I have to lose?" I say fine, sign the pledge. I will admit I am a little short on details, but as you implied, so is Mr. Forbes.

-- Richard Makrevis

(received 5/23)

E-trading or Greed-trading

Anne Kates Smith

: In response to your column

Viewpoint: Good Riddance to the Trading Housewives, I believe your take on the jogging mommies is correct. The point is not only how conveniently lucrative e-trading can be but how passe mutual fund buying is.

The viewer was meant to identify with the stock trader. Forget the e-brokerage's lame denial. It certainly caught heat from its fund suppliers for trivializing fund buyers. Have you noticed more articles on a slippage in fund inflows and speculation that money is going directly into individual stocks?

Perhaps this is the final chapter, as greed overwhelms caution. Why waste your time with diversification? Why pay someone to manage your money when it's more profitable to own that handful of stocks that are sure to rocket?

-- Steve Horwitz

(received 5/21)

Anne Kates Smith

: I too have some grave concerns about the

Ameritrade ads. A long bull market has made gurus out of uninformed investors. Arcane ideas such as diversification and asset allocation are no longer heeded. Don't get me wrong, I applaud low-transaction-fee trading, but that doesn't mean everyone should go out and buy.

It's not impossible to repair your own car, build your own house or do your own taxes, but it's not easy to do it well. So too with investments.

-- Daniel Goldstein, CFP

(received 5/21)

Anne Kates Smith

: As nauseating as the

Ameritrade ad is, you can't legislate to protect greedy and/or stupid traders from trading. And you shouldn't want to. We can't continue to blame others for our own misguided actions.

Let's stick with protecting traders from illegal activities in the marketplace. That should keep the

SEC

busy for the rest of our lifetimes.

-- Stephen Reinhold

(received 5/21)

Getting a Sign From the Pin Action

James Cramer

: In response to your column

Wait for Better Pin Action From the Tape, I enjoyed the piece because it describes exactly what's happening. Sometimes things just aren't right. I have lost on my last four trades, and that's a lot of trades for me. However, it tells me to step aside and not put good money after bad.

It is great reinforcement to hear it from a pro.

-- Jack Tobias

(received 5/21)

James Cramer

: I couldn't agree more with your story on

pin action. I am a quant manager, and the returns on the normal strategies are horrendous. Consider that for the past six weeks, you would have made more money buying the 100 stocks in the

Russell 1000

that had the worst change in analyst estimates. That is, you would have done better buying the stocks that are getting downgraded.

How's that for lousy pin action?

-- Mike Farrell

(received 5/21)

Putting the Brakes on the Growth Rate

James Padinha

: In response to your column

Bias, Schmias: You Can't Fight the Data, your analysis of the

Fed

and rate behavior is marvelous. It will be hard for productivity growth to match a 6%-plus

GDP

growth.

However, the question is, how much of that high growth is the result of a very accumulative money supply over the past year or 18 months? How fast will the growth rate be, in relation to the brakes that the Fed has put on M3 growth within the past six months? In other words, we could already be sliding into a lower GDP growth path.

-- Bastiaan Schouten

(received 5/21)

What to Cut

Tracy Byrnes

: In reference to your column

From Yachts to Chicken Poop: The Real Stuff of Taxes, it was refreshing to read about politicians actually thinking of tax cuts. Too bad they are targeted tax cuts, as opposed to a cut in the higher tax rates or a repeal of all death taxes.

-- Greg Ray

(received 5/19)

Using Teens to Track the Trends

James Cramer

: In response to your column

Long Call, Short Common: One of Cramer's Favorite Positions, when your daughters are teenagers you will be able to spot the

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Report

trends earlier. Shopping with two teenaged daughters is what led me to the stock way back at 22 a share. Long lines at the dressing rooms and cash registers were apparent at the first stores it opened back in late 1996. Fickle teen trends are a great play -- but you need to catch them early and dump them fast when the kids switch brands and stores.

-- Nancy Brown

(received 5/20)

Lessons Well Worth Learning

James Cramer

: In response to your article

Entry Is Everything, you make an important point and teach a lesson well worth learning.

However, following your advice too diligently risks missing opportunities. We are never sure that the selling has stopped, just as the bears, despite their claims to the contrary, are never sure that the buying has stopped. You have exhorted us to buy good companies on weakness -- but how do we achieve that if we wait until we are sure that the selling has stopped and the stock is raging again?

Lessons learned from bad experiences are often overreactions driven by emotion, and not necessarily applicable to all situations.

-- Jonathan Golding

(received 5/19)

Destiny's Proposal

Alison Moore

: In response to your article

Fidelity Proposes to Drop Destiny's Poor-Performance Penalty, I've been investing in

Fidelity's

(FDETX) - Get Report

Destiny II fund on the advice of my father for more than two years now. I am increasingly unhappy with my decision, and now that I've read your article, I'm mad as hell. I received my voting materials a few days ago. I nearly threw them out; they're basically incomprehensible. Clearly the issue at hand is this dropping of performance-based fees, and I thought it was just some sort of election for a new member of the manager's team.

-- John Durkin

(received 5/18)

What Matters Most

James Cramer

: In response to your column

Birthdays Beat the Game Any Day, I must say that I agree. I have a date with my four daughters (all in their early 20s) and wife to see

The Phantom Menace

at midnight. I've been looking forward to it for some time. It's going to be more important than sleep.

-- Ken Kates

(received 5/18)

A Menace Majority

James Cramer

: In response to your column

Sick of the Cyclicals, maybe you are losing money like the rest of us, but do you have to pick on

The Phantom Menace

?

My son, age 7, and I are so excited we can't stand it! We have watched the trailer every day for over a month. We like the hype. We have hyped ourselves and it's fun. It's called anticipation.

-- Jackson Lindsey

(received 5/17)

James Cramer

: I think you may need to rethink your position on

the movie. Yesterday at

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

I saw signs not to let individuals buy more than two items per UPC code. They can't keep the stuff in the store! Every book, including

TV Guide

, has two or three covers, to cause collectors to buy more than one copy. The marketing scheme on this movie is good, from toothpaste to toys to bath gel. They even have

Lays

potato chips in on it!

-- Trey C. Mirenda

(received 5/17)

The Fed's Credibility

David Gaffen

: In response to your article

Market Looks for Tightening Bias to Reaffirm Fed's Cred, these guys argue about nonsense. In the meantime, the rest of us do our jobs.

You'll recall that most of them argued for higher rates all last spring and early summer as well, before finally giving up the silliness. The wage component of the recent employment report was subdued. so they couldn't run screaming into the streets on that one. The

PPI

was very low and it would have looked silly to complain about that. But, along came the

CPI

! Finally something to scream and cry and moan about. It's like

Night of the Living Dead

-- these guys and gals just keep coming at us.

I find it laughable that the same people who have it wrong so often are those now saying the Fed's credibility now rests on whether it succumbs to the mob's cry for a ... er, tightening bias. It's the mob's credibility that is shot. And why, for heaven's sake, do these people merit being sources for such stories when they have such miserable track records?

-- Michael P. Manning

(received 5/17)

Raising the Roof on the Rate Debate

James Padinha

: In response to your column

Three Reasons the Fed Will Lean Toward Tightening, I agree with your analysis, although I wonder if the

Fed

is able to rely on its secret weapon: the market's own rapid reaction to such news and its current impact in bond and equity markets. It's like an invisible wand of influence.

I agree that the Fed's bias is definitely toward tightening.

Lawrence Meyer's

comments about labor rates would clearly show where he stands. But I get a sense from something

Greenspan

was reported to have said, that sometimes it appears as if the markets react and do the Fed's work for it.

I would think the chairman would like the Fed to announce, as strongly as possible, that it really has a bias toward tightening. Instead, the Fed will sit back, watch the markets react and then hold that first, big, important bullet back until it gets one more piece of confirming data. The Fed would hate to appear to be precipitous.

From my armchair perspective, it rightly or wrongly carries some sense of responsibility for "global monetary" policy (yes, I know it's an oxymoron, but it's the influence perspective I'm talking about).

As such, Greenspan and troop talk loudly and hold the big stick back until the next confirmation to beat it -- meanwhile letting the markets sort things out.

-- Mike Hirl

(received 5/17)

James Padinha

: Here's the bottom line. If the Fed

raises rates, it puts millions, not thousands, who currently draw unemployment on welfare.

Businesses pass the higher cost of goods and services on to the consumer whenever possible. What do you say to the people who build cars, construct houses and make major appliances? Gee, I'm sorry, I never thought of that?

If the Fed raises rates, all U.S. senators, representatives and government employees should accept a 50% pay cut!

I heard this when

Jimmy Carter

was president! It didn't work then and it certainly won't work now.

-- Minard Monteiro

(received 5/17)

Reasons Why the Dogs May Dive

Alison Moore

: I enjoyed your article

Dogs of the Dow Having Their Day. The fund I co-manage, the

Strong Dow 30 Value

fund, uses a value approach to choose among the

Dow

stocks. While dividend yield is one of our criteria, we feel other criteria can add value to the process. We believe yield, while still important, has lost some of its luster as a reflection of value in recent years since companies are more apt to buy back stock, etc. Thus, dividend policies have changed dramatically in recent years, which may be one reason for the lackluster performance of the Dogs strategy in the past few years.

-- Chuck Carlson/CFA Co-Portfolio Manager, Strong Dow 30 Value Fund

(received 5/11)