Get Off the Phone

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Publish date:

"Sell 10

Telephone

(T) - Get Report

T," I shouted to my trader,

Mark Kantor

.

"Which one?" he yelled back.

"Doesn't matter," I said, sadly.

Yes, the great telemania/telefriend/telestock period is now behind us and the pickings have never been slimmer. All day I have seen "raids," or massive attempts to get anything telephone down, but particularly the national telephone stocks and those that supply equipment to them.

Perhaps the most visible outgrowth of this era is that stocks like

Lucent

(LU)

and

Tellabs

(TLAB)

have become dramatically overowned. I did some work on Tellabs today trying to make a case for it, and all that I came back with was, "This one-time highflyer is now for sale everywhere."

Lucent is no different. I have a sign on my desk that says, "I Love Lucent," a tribute to the stock and the TV show. But that era is past, and now I own puts underneath my Lucent to stem the losses.

But nothing is working worse than the international telephone companies, particularly

Telebras

(TBR)

says it has a "little slip" in business. Is that a teeny-weeny slip or an itsy-bitsy slip? These companies are masters of spin control, aren't they??

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-chairman of TheStreet.com.

At the time of publication the fund held puts options on AT&T, Lucent and Telebras stock, though positions can 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 by sending a letter to TheStreet.com at

letters@thestreet.com.