The Effects of the Cyclical Rally

As institutions try to get in, stocks like 3M start to look positively Net-like.
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How powerful is this cyclical rally? I just sold my last bit of 3M (MMM) - Get Report up four and I am already missing it. The stock feels like it is going to $100.

So what? you say. It reported a good number and got a lot of analysts to bull it. No wonder it went up.

Wrong!

This company reported strictly a so-so number. It did not urge analysts to raise numbers. In fact, it merely endorsed what the analyst community was looking for.

No analyst upgraded.

No analyst praised.

Most analysts just said "same old, same old. Stay away." Even though the stock had run up six points in anticipation of this lukewarm quarter, and even though the stock delivered the lukewarm quarter, and even though no one upgraded, MMM just bolted 10 straight points since it reported. Ten points, heck, that's positively Net-like.

That's what happens when the institutions make the cyclical switch. They fight each other to buy shares. They get firms short the stock. They buy with reckless limits. MMM starts acting like some hard-to-buy small stock.

In the meantime, people reiterate buy ratings on tech and drugs from now till the cows come home and nobody cares.

It is a new ballgame.

Or as Jeff Berkowitz, my partner, said, "Where would 3M be if someone had upgraded it?"

How about well north of par?

Random musings:

Jeffrey dollars are not Pittman dollars. At least

AOL

(AOL)

knows at a certain price a bid will hurt its own stock, unlike

Amazon's

(AMZN) - Get Report

prexy...

K Mart

(KM)

clarification: It is more cyclical than

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

because it is not as well run as Walmart and tends to surprise itself to the upside when business is very strong in the country.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long AOL, although 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 at

letters@thestreet.com.