Ethical dilemma writ large. I am on the cell phone with our unbelievably good producer
. It is 4:01 p.m. Friday, the time when we are allowed to speak about what will be on the show. All stocks are kept secret from me until then, so I can't trade on the info. I am getting driven to the
Fox News Channel
studios from my office downtown.
Gary tells me that Scott Reamer, the brainy Internet whiz from
, is going to recommend
. I shiver goes through my body. I am long Doubleclick. This is the first time this confluence has occurred. If I am tough on him about DoubleClick, my partners will say why did I hurt us? If I am easy on him, the public will think I am a softy on my own stocks.
And then I realize, what the heck, just play it straight. Disclose, disclose again, and then ask the same questions Jeff and I ask of each other: Will the
deal hurt Doubleclick? Will the
loss kill them, etc., etc.
Yes, I am all for disclosure. One-hundred percent. But the shiver I had stems from a journalistic community that wants unbiased questioning, and that is simply impossible when I own a stock. But that doesn't mean I have to put my brain on idle. There is plenty to ask; always will be. If you think I am handling this stuff unethically, speak up. I want to do it right.
So another week of the show goes on.
I am always rushed on Fridays. I have to leave right after the market closes because
has been kind enough to have me on his show on Fridays. I love Cavuto's show because he lets us go long and really mix it up. It is candid and honest and thoughtful. We were on with
who recently put his "cards" on the table for
-- what BIG cards!! -- and the discussion revolved around whether the selloff lets the
skate on the rate hike issue.
, who knows bonds better than anyone in the media, still thinks we give back that last tightening from
Long Term Capital
I was going to say that made sense to me so we could cut rates again in a jiff now that
is starting his next thermonuclear hedge fund. Karen quickly pointed out that the hedge fund world now requires much more disclosure, making it far difficult for any one hedge fund, even one run by that genius Meriwether -- and I use the term lightly -- to take down the civilized peoples. Unlike most business TV, we aren't broomed after one soundbite. We come back from commercial and we are still on point. It is intense TV and very worth checking out because Cavuto is homework-oriented and very smart. Boom; 20 minutes goes by and I am off.
Then I grab a sandwich at the neighboring
and read through the research I need for the show, which is put together by
at my office.
After some chitchat in the green room,
heads out and does the intro. Then
and I move in. We are always trying to figure out the right distance between us and the lighting people are always trying to keep me from jumping around too much. Good luck!
Scott was a pure joy on the show. He is already used to having to be pugnacious about his stocks, so this show was kind of like a client meeting with someone who is skeptical about the Net.
, I deferred to Herb. Totally.
seemed pretty interesting to me and I know the president of HOTJ as a decisive can-do type. Revenue looks to be exploding here. I didn't get a chance to ask who these guys are going to put out of business, but I know if I were in their space, as headhunters are, I would be shaking, big-time. This company has a business model that cuts out the headhunters and lets you interact directly with the candidates. I like that. I came away wanting to buy this one.
DoubleClick? I asked the CMGI question as a way to know if I should sell some. He convinced me not to. So much for the conflict.
As is always the case, we huddle into the green room to watch
, mastered as always by Brenda. You must understand how hard this is. Neither man is in the studio. But she does it effortlessly and terrifically. She is a joy to work with. This time Chartman and Fundy had to own up to mistakes, as we all do on the show. I loved Gary's line that he didn't say "buy"
, he said "take a bye." Remind me to use that next time I buy 100,000 shares of a stock that goes down a dollar before I get the report!!
Then right back on with stock drill.
Dave the Cave Kansas
-- gold, oil inflation -- he's called them all -- led off with more dire predictions. He's looking for 9000 on the
. Considering how right he has been, that seemed worrisome and I found myself asking, why? Just like the first time I met Dave, when he was still working at the
, he's plugged into things and he has a great sense of what's about to happen. Found myself glad I still had some cash on the sidelines after listening to him.
Most of the rest seems like a blur. I retold the "Shoebox Steve" story that I wrote up on the way to the show. And I recall only one other thing: that Herb Greenberg stuck his cards on the table with
. I am going to buy that stock Monday because of the show.
Finally, Brenda let me plug my
piece about who the brokers of the next century are going to be. Don't miss this one. You will never guess who I think has the edge. Be ready to be surprised, especially if you are in the business.
: So I am reading
column the other day and I see he keeps plugging his appearances on
. I figure maybe he plugs his column on
. What is the point? His column is free. What's the deal? Why doesn't he charge for it? If he were working for us he would get a cut of the proceeds. And if they don't charge, why not call in
and at least get the deduction!!!
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long America Online and DoubleClick. 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