Our caution has paid off, and we are now putting in some bids for 2500s of our high-multiple tech names. Our average high-multiple tech stock has fallen 15% this morning, which, while painful, seems like a decent moment to do some small buys.

The

NDX

tape remains really, really tough. We acknowledge that this is a full-blown shakeout and we continue to respect the bears' power to foment pain in those stocks that had led the market in the fourth quarter.

Join the discussion on

TSC

Message Boards. What does it mean to be a small buyer? We just bought a little

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

, coupla thousand, and picked up a couple thousand

VerticalNet

(VERT)

that we sold at higher prices. This is quite different from our consistent buying of

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

,

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

and

Sun Micro

(SUNW) - Get Report

, where we have used our traditional scales to put money to work.

Why buy at all? Because a vicious snapback rally could be in the cards after this dramatic decline, and we don't want to be in a position where we have to scramble and buy on the way up.

You have to buy them when you can, not when you have to.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Yahoo!, VerticalNet, Cisco, Sun Microsystems and Intel. 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.