How could

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

bring the whole market down with an earnings-estimate cut? Was it the real culprit? Let's talk about this one. Because I think it says a lot about how intertwined everything has become.

First, Goldman Sachs is perceived to be -- and is -- an extremely well-run firm. It is regarded as the cream of the crop. So if it can't make the numbers, that means things have gotten bad in a whole host of financial sectors. Goldman is a dominant company in mergers, in stock issuance, in fixed income and money management. For it to not be able to make its numbers, all of these divisions have to be hurting.

So, immediately, people take out all of the other players in the business. This makes some sense. If Goldman can't make a lot of money right now, how can the other players who are going up against Goldman? It would be one thing if the problems were Goldman-specific, but the truth is that what ails Goldman is industrywide. The timing of this call could not have been worse for the market. We want to have some leadership here. Lately, the financials have provided it.

Today they gave it up.

This market, after hating cheap and loving expensive for a half-dozen years, had started liking cheap again. The financials are cheap. They are the cheapest of the cheap.

But today, we discovered why they are cheap. The best of them can't make the numbers.

Now we will just have to wait as, one by one, each one of these companies has its numbers cut.

Very sobering.

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

jjcletters@thestreet.com.