You want to be skeptical. You want to say that the market is ridiculously high. You want to believe that it all has to end.
Instead, this market just gets better and better. Oil and oil service, aerospace, the papers, even the personal computers -- they all continue to show a desire to join the party. In the meantime, the leadership keeps rolling along.
What can I say? I wish I were longer. I come back from vacation hoping for a big selloff like last Monday. Why? Let's go over the reasons:
Fed is on the side of the bulls. These guys are virtually on hold for the near future. They are not a factor. You have to love that.
Earnings. Heck, earnings season has come and almost gone and the result? Earnings are getting better. This cyclical rally? While I think it is too much too fast, I have to emphasize that, for the first time in two years, estimates went up for cyclicals, not down. That's huge. That's what drives stocks.
The Net rebound. The selloffs and subsequent rebounds in the Net are signs of
health, not sickness. It would be weakness if the stocks failed, but they haven't.
The takeovers and bidding wars keep validating these prices. The
cash bid, the
MediaOne (UMG) fight -- these show that corporate America and corporate Britain value companies higher than mutual funds do. That's amazing. And bullish.
IBM (IBM) - Get Report, which had been a huge thorn in the side of the bulls ever since the now-questionable downgrade by
Morgan Stanley at 172 on an options Friday, proved that you can't give up on companies that stumble on a quarter that have great management. You can tell that Lou Gerstner bore down on the losing divisions, and the results were spectacular.
Which brings me to this last one. When I got back, there was only one surprise on the sheets: a beautiful buy of
Dell (DELL) - Get Report.
Jeff Berkowitz, my unbelievably good partner, got me out of this one much higher. I never wanted to leave it. Sentiment, I guess, as this stock has made my company fortunes. Berko moved back into Dell big, believing that, like IBM, management bore down on this one and will show that Dell is back with a vengeance. The disarray at
Compaq (CPQ) doesn't hurt.
Leadership. Benign Fed. Takeovers. Better earnings. Contrarians will say it can't get any better than this. Which is why, since 1982, contrarians have been big-time losers.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Dell and IBM, although positions can 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