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The Cannonball From Chicago

The impact of the Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index just hit, and for many, it's blown up the perception that a 25-basis-point hike will be enough.
Author:

Did you feel that fungo bat smack the market's head? Did you hear the thwack when the wood connected with skin, skull and, ultimately, brains?

That was no fungo bat, silly. That was a cannonball, a

Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index

cannonball that takes your breath and your head away, considering that today is

Fed

day.

Suddenly, my partner,

Jeff Berkowitz

, turns to me and says, "Only 50 basis points will work now."

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So now we have room for disappointment. The Berkos out there are rooting for 50 basis points to show that the Fed is vigilant. As I write, people are printing out

Padinha

pieces and blanketing my desk with them.

If we get 25 basis points, that will not be enough. The selloff will be that much less buyable, the rally that much more behind us than in front of us, the put-buying that much more right today than wrong. Which is why it pays to be a cautious bull, taking outsized gains like those in

IBM

(IBM) - Get International Business Machines (IBM) Report

this morning and selling that Latin stuff that I've been keeping on the sheets, betting on 25 basis points.

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

jjcletters@thestreet.com.