Skip to main content

It's called "fading the opening" and it is one of the most dangerous facets of treacherous markets like the one we are in now.

It happens when

the futures look up and the brokers are out pushing all of the great ideas and reiterations of buys. You get a feeling that the market is going to snap back and you have to be in because you know that, when it turns, it turns big.

And then, no sooner than you have committed money, you find yourself in the throes of a downturn that will make your purchase mark a short-term top.

You are not alone. This kind of activity is nothing new. In fact, ever since we started trading futures on the stock market, people have been picked off by that "we are going to have a stronger opening" garbage.

Take yesterday. To me, I didn't think that

AMD

(AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Report

could carry the opening and, while I was smitten with

Altera

(ALTR) - Get Altair Engineering Inc. Class A Report

, that semi company can't make up for the damage that

Motorola

(MOT)

and

Microsoft

TheStreet Recommends

(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

had just created.

When we saw the futures up, we called an audible on our plans because we figured we had a real opening fader on our hands. As I

indicated to you on the site --

ahead of when we did it

-- we sold a massive amount of our tech into the opening.

We didn't want to be fooled. That put us in a position of strength for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, you can't just presume that every good opening is going to be faded. For example, if we get a benign

CPI number, the good news from

Sun Micro

(SUNW) - Get Sunworks, Inc. Report

last night could turn things around.

We just don't know yet.

The point of this piece, though, is not what I think will happen today. It's to point out that fading the opening is a constant problem these days.

Don't be fooled. Show some patience. It will make you money.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Altera. 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

jjcletters@thestreet.com.