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That whoosh up yesterday, did it mean anything? Was it significant?

Does it matter that this market can rally like that? Frankly, no. It would be better if the darn thing stayed down. It would be better for both the bulls and the bears. The bears could bring in their shorts. The bulls could get some base building going.

The single most disheartening thing about this market is that neither the bull nor the bear can make any money. The rallies are so sudden, the selloffs so brutal, that both sides are just getting ground down.

Yesterday, a mass of sellers finished at 3:30. A mass of buyers came in right on top of them. If you had been buying down all day you might have been able to scalp a good trade. Maybe not. But the takeaway of a day like yesterday is that capital continues to be eroded by this market. It goes up but not enough. It goes down but not enough.

So we remain in no man's land. No one makes money in no man's land. The worst thing you can do right now is presume near-term direction. The best thing you can do is stay on the sidelines, play it small, do it small.

So that is what we are doing.

Some of you have said that I am in despair about this market. Save it. I get in despair about real life, not about the direction of pieces of paper -- or lack thereof. I have stored up the easy times and I apply them liberally in times like this to remind me that it isn't always this hard. That keeps me from forcing it. Forcing it always fails. Always. Patience is what is needed in this market.

Random musings:

Some housekeeping. Many of you emailed me saying that you could not take advantage of the

Microsoft

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call last week because it was after hours. Give me a break! Millions of shares traded in Microsoft after 4 p.m. EDT. The game has changed. You can traded easily after hours now. If you want to take advantage of stuff like this, get a broker who trades after 4 p.m.. Everybody's doing it. ... Gene Marcial from

Business Week

nailed this

International Paper

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and

Champion International

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thing. Just nailed it.

Good call.

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