You ever wonder how we stock analysts decide what to say when asked about a stock on TV? Here is a real-life example of my attempt to crash-course Communication Intelligence (CICI) , a $7 Nasdaq number, in time for a local New York show last night.
I've been doing some stock work for
in New York up at the Nasdaq Center in Times Square. I play these things as straight as an arrow, meaning I don't want to know about the stocks they want to focus on until after the close.
That gave me one hour to learn about Communication Intelligence, a small-capitalization company that
wanted to talk about because they wanted to have something on the show about stocks that sold for less than $10.
A $7 stock. Immediately I shook. I am scared to death to say anything positive or negative about a little stock like CICI after the
fiasco, where I said the stock was up on a short squeeze on nationwide TV and got investigated by the U.S. government for trying to knock WavePhore down to profit from it. (I wasn't short; I was just speaking my mind.)
When I looked at the description of the company (It makes natural pen software -- a
tagalong) -- I got more terrified. And when I saw that it had jumped from 1 to 7 virtually overnight, I knew that I could get in trouble the moment I opened my mouth.
So I tried to look up the research on the stock. Nothing. Then I tried to look up the financials. Not much there, mind you, for a half-billion stock.
Then I looked at the filings -- rather incomplete. Oh boy, there's nothing on this one.
So I asked
Matt "Communication Intelligence" Jacobs
to hunt around for anything else we could find on it while I drove up to Times Square.
A half-hour later, and still nothing. Boom, next thing I knew, the reporter was pointing to the block on the Nasdaq wall, which had the closing price of CICI, and I blurted, "Too speculative for me."
"It's up from a dollar in just a few months, too fast for me," I threw in.
I couldn't say any more. I didn't want to hype it. I didn't want to hurt it. So I mealy-mouthed it. What more could I do beyond the ominous "no comment"?
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. 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