Nasty, isn't it? Replete with some guy from

IDC

pronouncing the end of personal computers, another story indicating that

Compaq

(CPQ)

preannounced -- untrue, but it sure had us looking for news -- and another piece that reads like a

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

obituary. And this

DLJ

downgrade of

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

isn't going to help things.

Meanwhile the bonds are giving it up, and the stock futures are outright contagious with gloom.

Guess it must be time to buy.

Yeah, people ask me all of the time how to use contrarian thinking. What I like to do is try to get a gauge on sentiment, and right now sentiment has turned decisively negative.

My problem is that even though I want to take the other side of the trade of negativity, I can't jump on tech until I am more sure that the downturn will run its course in time to save quarters. Not when we are running smack into the brunt of preannouncement season.

To me, I want to play the safety stocks. Let's take

Anheuser-Busch

(BUD) - Get Report

, which I have been long for some time. I thought everybody knew that the BUD story was good. But sure enough, BUD has a big meeting last week, and what does the stock do? It goes up again. That's my kind of stock.

I know these consumer stocks must seem like downright boring companies after the action you have gotten from tech, but remember tech has become a bit like Space Mountain. What a ride, but when you end up right back to where you started. The goal is to advance, not stay static, and I don't think tech can do it yet.

So today we have a gauntlet of economic data, all of which the media will try to get us to believe should move rates higher. But what the media doesn't get is the bond market ain't stupid. It moves ahead of data, not after it. That means the big numbers are probably already in bonds.

To me, the more important question is: How can the economy be hot with a slowdown in computer spending? That's what makes me hopeful that rates have seen their short-term peaks, and once again, why I like these dull consumer names ahead of the

Merrill Lynch

conference.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At the time of publication, his fund was long Anheuser-Busch, though positions 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 by sending a letter to TheStreet.com.