Weeks like this one remind us how hard this business can be. One week ago,
inaugurated its TV show with what's now known as the "Lost Episode."
One week ago, things looked quite different. The earnings of
, which were not that great, moved the stock up anyway. The earnings of
, which were very disappointing, ignited a huge rally in that stock.
It was with that frame of mind that we gathered at
studios to talk about the market and venture forward with predictions that, at the time, seemed so logical as to be almost innocuous and now seem so -- well, let's skip the euphemisms -- Wrong!
The show opened with a Ken Schapiro of
urging us to buy
. We were tough on him, but not tough enough. His explanation that the stock was cheap sure didn't help people who were long it going into Thursday, when Xerox shocked people with paltry revenue.
Most of the rest of the show contained some lively debate and would have generated some helpful information to make you a better investor, but let's fast-forward the episode to the predictions segment.
First, basking in the glow of a market that seemed to love the good (
), the bad (Motorola) and the ugly (Intel), I figured that it was the right time to press a semiconductor-equipment bet. I had listened, rapt, that week to the head of
speak about the firm's momentum. He was so gung-ho when he was on
and the orders were supposed to be so explosive that I thought it was time to bet heavily on this stock ahead of what was sure to be a great quarter.
Fifteen points later, I feel like a fool -- and not a motley one. Novellus reported a good quarter and great orders, but the market didn't want anything to do with it. I have ridden it down, and while I love this sector and I have invested and traded in it for a while now, I think the only good thing to come out of the cancellation of last week's show was that you didn't see me pound the table on a name that got pummeled.
talked about how
could file for bankruptcy, but the firm made a point of denying that from the get-go on Monday. Nothing new on that front.
then said the market would get a good signal from
earnings and go higher. I like Dave too much to tell you what happened this week. Then again, you already know.
This about-face caused me tremendous soul-searching last night as we head into the show's "premiere" edition this weekend. My youngest daughter came into the bed at 2:30 a.m. last night -- I know, I know, and I put her right back in hers -- but I couldn't get back to sleep and lay there thinking about how I let the emotion of last week's enthusiasm seep into my predictions.
Now this week, at least until today, the enthusiasm is drained, the caution is back and I am wondering whether the market won't play another trick on us. Of course, I have the day to mull and think and decide what to say. But I know one thing: If I don't step back and take a more objective view of what might occur in the following week, without getting caught up in the emotions of the moment, I will not be of much use to you, the viewer.
look good this morning! Yet it's higher anyway. Looks like the market is still uncomfortable with winners and likes losers.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Intel, Microsoft and Novellus. 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