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No Place to Make Big Buys

Cramer says he's sticking to his strategy of 'renting' stocks, not owning them.
Author:

Sure, I want to buy 'em. Heck, buying 'em is what's made me money. But right now it is still about trading them, not owning them -- or, as I have said several times since the

Fed

changed its bias, we want to rent them, not own them, until the coast is clear.

There has been some confusion among readers about what I mean to rent stocks, so let's clear that up after this piece. You might have just seen me on "Squawk Box" on

CNBC

-- boy, talk about something I truly do love to do.

As soon as the show was over, I made my customary call to my dad to ask what he thought of "Squawk" (he could tell I missed the show) and then the call to

Jeff Berkowitz

about how the renting strategy remains right. That meant if we were up big on anything we bought for a trade, we would sell it. In the meantime, don't fall in love with anything. It will hurt you. You don't make big money by putting money to work in this environment and then forgetting about it. The market is way too uncertain. To rent is to trade for profit, period. Let the other guy own.

How uncertain is this tape? I

wrote last night about my

Time Warner

TheStreet Recommends

(TWX)

purchase. This morning I saw

Merrill Lynch

upgraded

Viacom

(VIA) - Get Viacom Inc. Class A Report

, and I figured that Time Warner would be up a buck in sympathy. But on that same phone call with Jeff, I discovered that Time Warner was down! In good tapes that stock should have been flying on the heels of that Viacom bump.

With the exception of semiconductors and telco, tech things simply aren't working. They will work when we are out of the Big Bad Event mode, when these numbers don't matter because they are factored into the Fed's thinking. Instead, right now, if a Fed governor were to come out and issue statements that were negative about that retail sales number we saw at 8:30 a.m., the stock market would get hit hard.

That's no place to make big investment bets. Better to keep waiting. Rent a little, but keep waiting. It has not hurt you to wait since the time the Fed changed its bias. I think that will be the case until the Fed acts to preserve and prolong the bull with some tougher interest-rate medicine.

After this increase, I want to take a hard look at the drugs and the banks, two forgotten areas of investment for me, and get some in for a bit of longer-term appreciation. But why jump the gun? A wait-and-see strategy has worked so far, and it will continue to do so. To press is just plain wrong.

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