Since 7:15 a.m. today we have seen a half-dozen business-to-business initiatives announced that would have sent these stocks soaring in premarket trading. Now we just yawn instead.
We saw the same thing last year when the business-to-consumer stocks peaked in 1999. Something would come over the tape that would, in April or May, ignite a whole group, but would be viewed as a cynical but failed ploy to move a stock back to where it was.
How does it happen? First, understand that institutions never played this press-release game. This was always a game played by daytraders who were trying to buy something ahead of when it was announced on
. They would then blow it out when the public heard the news on TV.
At a certain point the public gets saturated with stock and realizes that it gets hammered every time it tries to do this. Demand by the public gets overwhelmed by daytrader supply. The daytraders then have to flip the stock and take horrible losses, because they don't have the cash to keep the stuff overnight (margin clerk problems.)
And that sector of the market takes it on the chin.
I wish there were some way we would know when supply exceeds demand. That indicator would make you a fortune. But we don't have one. All we have is the nonmethodical, often anecdotal set of factors such as IPOs that don't pop and secondaries that fail and stocks that don't rally on good news.
But once we get to that key point where the marginal release doesn't rally the stock, it doesn't come back any time soon. (Most business-to-consumer stocks are appreciably lower than when the last press releases stopped working.)
So don't be suckered.
The bears got another one right. There had been rumors that
wasn't going to make its numbers without help. Well, now that we know what the help was -- illegal sales practices -- who wants it?
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. 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