Hopes for a Quiet Day Dashed by Rumor and Innuendo

Some days, making money just isn't in the cards, Cramer says.
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Sometimes we have days of confusion at

Cramer Berkowitz

. They are usually days when we are out in the field meeting companies, trying to learn new ideas, getting our feet wet in new areas because we think the old are stale.

Yesterday was one of those days. We had everybody deployed.

Melissa Kasper

was up at the Back-to-School Conference in Boston, monitoring the placid names we like to be involved with during a soft landing of the economy. (And why not, with

Colgate

(CL) - Get Report

quietly hitting a 52-week high even as just about everything else faltered?)

Matt "Red Hot" Jacobs

was hitting the New York conference trail, indulging in one-on-ones with his namesakes while dropping in on a few semiconductor meetings.

Jeff Berkowitz

, who is at his best during conference season, was playing monster-back, trying to be at whatever session or meeting was necessary while checking in with me to see where he should go next.

And I was trying to make a few bucks on the trading floor, waiting for good calls from all three to see if we could deploy some capital, while looking for opportunity away from tech and soft goods.

Meanwhile, the rubber-necking delays of

Greenspan

and that hatchet man

Fed

guy who doesn't like rising markets kept intruding with meaningless diversions that led to sporadic, moronic futures buying and selling. These guys truly create traffic jams; what a terrible lot in life.

We were hoping for a quiet, opportunistic day.

Instead we met up with a wall of innuendo and rumor that threw our game off.

It sure didn't look that way at the outset. We shook off that British

rate move nicely (what the heck are they doing over there anyway?), and we seemed to be digesting Friday's gains nicely. But by midday we could tell that somebody didn't want somebody to make a profit on the long side in the semiconductor industry. And when you take away that leadership, you seem to imperil the whole shooting match.

We tried to do some trades. We skirmished with

Tellabs

(TLAB)

after a positive presentation, but ran into a wall of sellers and retreated hastily to our defense lines. We attacked a bit of

Seagate

(SEG)

, but were thrown back almost immediately on news that the company was not on allocation. We switched from

Xilinx

(XLNX) - Get Report

to

Altera

(ALTR) - Get Report

after a couple of bullish sessions with the latter and less bullish sessions with the former, but we didn't pick up much valuable real estate.

It was an unsuccessful day on the battlefield.

By the end of the day I was agreeing with

The Wall Street Journal

article that had you switching from

Bloomberg

, but there wasn't a game worth watching!

These days happen. Where did we come from leading up to today? We have had one of the most exciting semi-romps in the history of semi-romps. We had the seemingly unstoppable

Red Hots run into a little gravity (except for

Red Hat

(RHAT)

, which may be the least substantive, but most loved Red Hot right now.) We had break-outs left and right in the

Nasdaq

.

So the market is taking a break.

Today I am telling my people, "Go back to those meetings. Keep learning the new stories. Get ready for the next romp in some group that seems stuck in the mud right now. And stop trying to make big money

today

." It may not be in the cards to do so. Too many people seem to want this market down right now. Let them press their case and be ready with the best names for the next leg up. Sometimes that's better than chasing down every "

Micron

(MU) - Get Report

to buy

AMD

(AMD) - Get Report

" rumor. And a heck of a lot more lucrative.

Random musings

: Memo to the rumor-mongerers out there: Are you forgetting there is a new sheriff in town? You can't just come up with any combo and float it. Take this

Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

-

Unilever

(UN) - Get Report

thing. I find it a bit of an embarrassment, frankly. Henkel has owned a blocking stake in Clorox for so long that rumor-mongerers are going to have to be a lot more creative than that to get people sucked in. And the Micron-AMD thing? I mean, like, MU and

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

are good friends. That's certainly a well not worth poisoning. I'm thinking, by the way, that

3Com

(COMS)

ought to change its name to 3SUITER, allowing the

CNBC

rumor brigade to get to mention

Lucent

(LU)

,

Siemens

and

Nortel

(NT)

every single time.

Ah, would that simplify the game!!

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Nortel, Altera, Intel, Micron, JDS Uniphase, Juniper, Conexant, Redback and VeriSign. 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.