Counseling? Prayer? Wondering if it is time to panic? There is a lot of heavy negativity at the Chase-H&Q conference, well represented by the excellent TSC team. That negativity is defining what is happening on your screen. It is seeping into stock prices left and right. It is the silent killer of equity prices.
We see it daily. A downgrade of
off of a rival's taking of dishes (dishes it may or may not be able to sell) kills the stock. Crushes it!
will take swipes at
cause those stocks to wilt. Fears, mind you -- even though IBM did take some shorts. These stocks couldn't get out of their own way.
Analysts, once buoyant in their mindless buy reiterations are now sounding a note of caution, or perhaps, realism, as they ponder what their next moves are. They no longer pound tables. They have developed the table manners children are supposed to have: Don't speak unless spoken to, and respond in hushed, quiet tones.
just gets downgraded by
Salomon Smith Barney
. It is the type of downgrade you don't get when all things are rocking. General Motors gets downgraded everyday (today is no different!), despite its rich undervaluation (yeah, I am long it).
, despite the well-telegraphed problems,
begins to get downgraded by analysts who just can't take it anymore.
The subdued nature of it all is sobering. It again speaks to lowered expectations. It speaks to being careful.
As I write this, people persist in saying that I am somehow calling the bottom with this recognition of the caution all around me. To which I say, I hope so.
We are long, not short, this market. We have a ton of cash. A ton. But we are not set up to profit from a giant fall from these levels. I just don't think we will get one. That would be too easy.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long IBM, Sun Microsystems, General Motors and EMC. 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