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The Bears' Day -- and Yet Not Ugly Enough

Author:

Pardon me, but did anybody see that truck that knocked over the OTC in the last 15 minutes? I know it sideswiped me.

Today was a day where the bears got it all right. There was virtually no leadership, no place to hide and a simply hideous performance by everything that the bulls cling to.

I try to be positive when you can be positive. I try to see the bull case when the bull case has a glimmer. At one point, for example, the

Intel

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Cisco

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leadership nexus seemed like it was up to the challenge. But then it got crushed in just a couple of minutes. Like it was a house of cards.

Other than an extreme oversold reading, I see nothing that can make me want to do anything other than circle the wagons and sell the marginal positions on strength. The market just failed miserably.

Yet, and here is the irony, it did not fail miserably enough. There wasn't anybody out there saying, "I have a million Intel to go right here, right now." We did not hear, "Man trying to move 2 million Cisco as best as possible." Those do happen at bottoms. We do see those kinds of "give-ups." I heard none of those today. I also did not get the feeling that the futures sellers were exhausted. They seemed eager and willing to sell the S&P futures even after the bell.

And still we are only at 8900, middle of the range, not down enough, not ugly enough.

As I have said many times, my job is not to cheerlead, it is to tell you how I feel and what I see. I don't buy the big cyclical bear. I just don't see the big negatives: inflation and higher interest rates on the horizon. But that doesn't make me want to jump up and down for joy. It makes me want to wait until the selling is finished, and to sell when the market rallies on these futures ramps.

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

At the time of publication the fund was long Cisco and Intel, though positions can 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 by sending a letter to TheStreet.com at

letters@thestreet.com.