Call me old school, but to me the action away from tech seemed pretty darn good Thursday. What defines good? For me, it is always the same thing: How did the bad stuff act?
. I am long Alcoa. Why? Because it is down on its butt, with nowhere to go but up, run by a management that is so pro-shareholder that it has broken out of the commodity pack by returning more money to the owners than any other cyclical. I am convinced these guys would make money at 40 cents for aluminum.
Most importantly, it is within this industry's grasp to get pricing better, and it is within Alcoa's destiny to control that price. It can do something it if wants to. In the meantime, I wait.
But Alcoa runs with a bunch of crummy companies, the worst of which is
, one of the poorest returning companies I know. They have tried and tried and tried to bring out value but have always failed. They are the anti-Alcoa.
So, when RLM blew up for the enth time on Wednesday, you knew this industry was in for some serious downhill sledding. Sure enough, the analysts were so savage toward the industry that it made the
"Squawk," you know, the one where she pronounces that this or that industry will get hit, and this or that industry will get a boost. And what did Alcoa do after that double-barreled Wall Street-
assault? It went up on big volume.
That means one of two things: Either the market is oversold and wants to head higher or the stock has reached a level where value buyers have at last come in. Either is incredibly bullish and makes me believe that the market may soon be through its consolidation phase.
Although I do not like the oil service stocks, I saw similar action in them Thursday. Knocked by analysts with numbers sliced, the group still rallied. As I said this morning, that means there could be a swift rotation into these stocks, one that could end rather fast.
But the fact that they rallied at all? Bullish, just plain bullish for the market itself.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At the time of publication, the fund was long Alcoa, but 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 by sending an email to email@example.com.