Switched Signals

Cramer looks at CNet and Clorox, two companies that have recently reversed their own guidance.
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So is

CNet

(CNET) - Get Report

analogous to

Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

? Both companies made huge splashes in the press -- Clorox in

The New York Times

and CNet in

Fortune

-- about goals.

Clorox talked about great growth. It then guided the Street down almost immediately from those same lofty goals.

CNet told

Fortune

that it was unlike other Nets because it was all about profitability. In fact, that's why it wasn't like the other Nets: It cared about black ink.

It then holds a meeting yesterday and tells us that it's now going to lose money because of marketing spending. Because people thought that CNet was already marketing, this change amounts to an almost 7-point disappointment as I write.

I wanted to buy CNet on the weakness, but

Berko

counseled me that you can't get involved with companies that switch signals once they are communicated to the press. So we are taking a pass, although I still think that it will bounce back. But there is enough stuff out there that both of us like that we don't need to put on positions that don't create a consensus.

Random musings:

When is a downgrade not a downgrade? I think it's when it's a price downgrade. I'm using

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's

downgrade of

Dial

(DL) - Get Report

to get in that stock. I sold it yesterday, again into a vicious markup like that of

Jeeves

(ASKJ)

-lovin'

Broadcom

(BRCM)

, and thought that it was right kind of messieurs Morgan, Stanley, Dean and Witter to give me another shot at my favorite consumer-products name. ... Non dot-com stocks, stop your griping.

Yankee Candle

(YCC)

went to a premium today. It's pricing, not the dot-com, that can drive underwritings. ... Short-sellers of dot-coms are kicking themselves again. These tulips come up quarterly!

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