If You Can't Beat 'Em, Benchmark 'Em

The trader says more and more fund managers are fashioning their funds after the Nasdaq.
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It's happening again. More money managers are trying to make their funds look like the

Nasdaq

and less like the

S&P 500

. And who can blame them?

First, the public, through great work by the Nasdaq, now thinks the market is the Nasdaq. There was never an S&P 500 site in Times Square. And there was never a forum where reporters could stand up and say, "Here is the S&P benchmark" that your manager should beat.

Join the discussion on

TSC

Message Boards.

So one manager after another is trying to reposition her fund to look more like

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

and

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

and

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

and

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

and less like

Allstate

(ALL) - Get Report

and

Exxon-Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and

Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

and

Goodyear

(GT) - Get Report

and

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

. (The latter's "labor" problems seem quaint in a world where giant companies like Cisco's and Sun's labor problems mean trying to keep good workers, not trying to entice workers to work!).

And who can blame them? I keep thinking about that crazy

Dreman column in

Forbes

telling me that I have to compare myself to the NDX while he gets to compare himself to, I don't know, an index of

Philip Morris

(MO) - Get Report

and

Cigna

(CI) - Get Report

?

Maybe Dreman is right about one thing: When the year is over, money managers who aren't beating the NDX are going to get the money taken away.

So if you can't beat them, join them!

Random musings

: Love the new Martian ad from

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

(MWD)

.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Miscrosoft, Intel and JDS Uniphase. 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.