The Magic of Monday's Market

Just when things were looking a bit shaky, everything suddenly turned from darkness to light.
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Here's the postmortem on Monday's action. On Thursday, with Kosovo threatening to heat up, PC worries still mounting, a bond market looking mortally wounded, and a stock market looking extremely toppy, traders took a ton of stock off the table and pulled in their tech horns. Some bet against the market, taking down big put positions. Others ganged up on the Net stocks, buying DOT puts and selling calls.

And then magic happened. The unemployment number was perfect. Just perfect -- so good in fact, that it put the


back on hold until the summer.


kept its toothless word, so nobody on our side got hurt. The papers were filled with positives about portfolio managers who loved the Net.

The world turned from darkness to light.

Tech didn't blow up and the preannouncement period ended.

Shorts got squeezed.

Longs pressed their bets.

Japan rallied.

Everything worked.

Everybody who took money off the table then put it on the table. But there was no supply and the scramble was on.

What happens today? If you have to ask me, I would say more of the same.

Random musings:

Just when I was hoping

JC Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

would take its considerable drugstore business on line, what does the company do? It launches a dead-tree mag for kids. Talk about the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Next thing you know, these guys are going to hire scribes to create sale handbills by the hundreds and deliver them door-to-door!

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings 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