Momentarily Out of the Loop - TheStreet

I felt like an archaeologist, staring at my screen, having missed the last two hours of trading yesterday. TheStreet.com Inc. (TSCM) had a board meeting, so I strolled over to 14 Wall Street, which is about 10 blocks from my office. Other than personal stuff, the board meeting is about the only time I take my eye off the market, and fortunately we only have about a half-dozen of them a year. (I only visit TheStreet.com for board meetings, so I still had to ask directions about which floor the company was on!)

Anyway, after the meeting was finished, all of the portfolio-manager types at the office had vanished, and I had to piece together whether we had a good or a bad day. Fortunately it was a good one, but not because of the financials. Our tech exposure plus some well-placed drug offerings made it into a winner. Our

NDX

tech names, however, went against us for a little less than they made for us the day before, when the buy programs ran rampant.

Join the discussion on

TSC

Message Boards. For a moment, I was truly spooked when I heard

Ron Insana

in the background talk about how the market has shot up then slammed down. I visualized sharply higher prices for a bunch of stocks that I could have sold and drastically lower prices for a bunch of stocks I should have bought.

A quick recap call with my partner,

Berko

, however, told me that it was too crazy to make any big money in the market, and that the hair-trigger upturns and downturns could not be gamed. There was no time to act.

My eyes leapt to the semiconductor names on my screen, all green, and then to the banks, all red, which told me that the

Fed

had issued some cautionary comments about inflation. Had they said nothing or said they thought things were under control, I could imagine a world where the colors were switched.

And then I settled in to the individual names and their patterns, most of which seemed very random. Then off to a dinner where nonmarket business got kicked around.

As I wrote this, I was about to go to sleep with a gnawing pain, one that comes every time I miss the close, except for when I am vacation. I know I could have made more money had I been at my screens. But I did my fiduciary duty for the cyberpages I love. Nah, forget it, I hate being out of the loop. I will always hate being out of the loop.

Random musings:

We bought more

E*Trade

(EGRP)

. We figured that pessimism had created a bargain price as the short-sellers had swarmed down on the stock ahead of the convertible bond. Can't say I feel great about it. But at least we know it was down because of a financing, and not some other shoe that is about to drop. What a hated sector!

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long TheStreet.com and E*Trade, and Cramer was long TheStreet.com. 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.