How You, Too, Can Play the Intraday Sell Program

Look, you're not going to know the market the way I do. But I'll try to show you the way.
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What can you do at home and what can't you? Isn't that the question many of you are asking when I write that I could take

advantage of



momentary decline because of an


sell program?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, you can use price limits to purchase good stocks that you want at your price. If you like H-P, you can put a limit order in at your price and you let the volatility (read: sell programs) work for you to get a great entry point.

No, you can't just look at the market and decide whether there is an S&P sell program. That's where my experience comes in and I can't duplicate it for you -- I can only offer you the insights I see.

Ever since our market became totally futures-driven -- meaning that futures drive stocks and not vice versa -- I have made my career spotting the impact of these mindless machine-driven buys and sells. I have used them to my advantage because I feel or intuit when they are occurring.

Nobody calls me and says, "Hey, Jim, you have to buy them because we are forcing them down with a sell program." I can just sense when the programs occur from the rapid price movement of stocks, from inquiries to different desks about whether they are working anything "real" (meaning sizable), or whether is it all machines. It is something I am good at. Don't be jealous. I am a professional trader, having traded for 20 years. You better have learned something by then or you should not be in the game!

I often talk about how the individual has the edge on me. He can be nimble, he can trade only when he wants to and he does not have to report each quarter or month or day.

But I have my edges, too. I can sense the programs while they are occurring, in part because that kind of action cannot be disguised. All it does, however, is help me recognize whether it is the "market" that is moving stocks down, or the individual fundamentals. If it is the market, I can use it to buy what I want. It makes me more confident, bolder.

You can use it, too. The only difference is that I can tell if it is the market more easily than you can. I can, however, pass on when I think it is pure program, as it was this morning.

is not real-time, but it is the closest thing to it and I hope you can capitalize the way I can from the bludgeoned nature of the selling.

Random musings

: The film crew is gone. Pretty wild stuff. No fistfights between the partners, but plenty of angst and hair pulling -- obviously not me! Hoo-hah.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long Hewlett-Packard. 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