Net Stocks and That Not-So-Hot Griddle

Gotta get into this group with Acampora saying it's down for the count.
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Remember that Holland Tunnel griddle? The one that's so hot that it burns the eggs immediately? That's the one I use to gauge the Net. When it is too hot, I want to go. When it's too cool, I am a buyer.

Now, when it seems the pilot light is out, I have to put some money to work in the group. Everybody has given it up for lost. I have held back for what seems to be like gobs and gobs of points. But when

Ralph Acampora

says sell the Net and the

Journal

says the bear market is here, that seems too pat, too obvious.

I know, I'm a trader. I know I can't stick around if the underwriters keep the spigot on too great. But the bearishness that surrounds this group is so, so great right now that I have to go the other way. Everybody I know is shorting these stocks today. That just can't be right.

I particularly like the Net-relateds -- you know, those "miserable" telco techs that provide the backbone to the Net. They have been crushed. They are having great quarters.

Secondarily, I like the old Net plays, the ones that everybody bashed today in the

Journal

, the ones that have been destroyed. I don't have the conviction I have on the techs that provide the infrastructure, but you gotta start somewhere.

Oh, and get this. Chastened by my first bad buys of the Latin stocks, I stayed away. Until now. These companies are way overdone on the downside. They are so cool you could confuse them for Freon. Got to buy them when you can, not when you have to.

When the griddle's simmering, time to tiptoe onto it. Make a couple of good egg sandwiches.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. 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

letters@thestreet.com.