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Shock and Surprise in Light of Bank One Fiasco

The bank-stock plunge is due to competitive, anti-inflationary reasons, not higher rates.
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Many of you have emailed me and asked me how I can like the market given the sad state of the financials. Let me tell you, I am shocked and pleasantly surprised about how strong this market is in light of the fiasco at Bank One.

Typically, the bank stocks get hammered as a prelude to the rates going higher. This time, however, the bank-stock plunge has more to do with competitive, anti-inflationary reasons than it does with a possible hammering of bonds. Slim reed, but I have to hang on something, and I want to do that because I want to stay long.

I am not alone. There is good buying in the consumer stocks today as well as nice-buying and call-buying in the drug stocks. These can also be signs for the direction the market is taking. And the brokers themselves are not getting crushed, as would be the case if the financials were truly giving us a head's up on a possible decline in the market.

Any time I have to deviate from my rules of what makes me like a tape, generically, I get nervous. So, I am nervous. A nervous bull. Like 42 million others.

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James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of 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