Swings and Changes

With stock trading, things go right and they go wrong. There are hopes and then hopes get dashed.
Publish date:

Trading is not politics. It is not a sin to flip-flop. Stocks are not

Social Security

; you can bash them. These are two different games, and they are not played with the same rules.

Amazon: Join the discussion on


Message Boards.

And that's not because I like to trade. It is because business has vicissitudes and swings and changes. Things go right and they go wrong. There are hopes and then hopes get dashed.

I am looking through the boards today and I am repeatedly struck by people demanding I defend myself because I might hate


(AMZN) - Get Report

, or like it, on what seems like a whim. Hardly.

Amazon is a stock I want to own when it goes higher and I want to sell when it goes lower. Simple, but not simplistic. There can be no consistency beyond that. If


had said the spending can die down, the expenses can be scaled back, the


had outstanding reception and the customers can't buy enough so they can raise prices, what would be the point of hating Amazon? That would be stupid.

Remember, I want to be right, not wrong. Amazon said none of those things. So it lost some sponsorship. When that happened, the stock went down. It is our job to divine whether sponsorship will be lost or gained because of changes in the fundamentals.

If we decide that the fundamentals don't matter and there are rock-hard principles -- I will never sell


(CSCO) - Get Report

because Cisco is like the

Statue of Liberty

and the

Liberty Bell

and the

Declaration of Independence

and my children and my late Ma -- fine.

But we must also therefore decide that profits don't matter. I can't make that kind of decision and expect to stay in business.

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