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The 2 p.m. Short Pattern


Every day it has paid to put on a big short ahead of the 2 p.m. EDT


programming. Every day. You see the pattern starting right now as the futures guys line up their shorts and the SPX put buyers come in with guns blazing. They put the shorts on now, probably with the knowledge that the programming will reflect the grim nature of the markets.

Yesterday, this pattern failed. Others came in with real capital -- through Chicago, not New York -- and took the other side of the trade, smacking those who were betting that


would take the market down.

Do you think this is a paranoid fantasy? Hardly. Take a look at the

Washington Post

today: It tells you how important the

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phenomenon has become. So does

USA Today's

Money section. Both point out that the network has become instrumental to the market.

Of course, they don't take it the next step and talk about this incredibly profitable bearish pattern. Will it lead to chaos today, as it has every day except yesterday? Or will it put an end to the free-money-for-the-shorts game that has prevailed for weeks on end? Stay tuned.

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

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 by sending a letter to at