The market is sending a warning to management: "We will pay anything you ask if you have real growth. But if you are going to try to take profits with your stock or if you are going to try to do an offering of your stock, we will be very unforgiving. And if you try to screw around with the numbers, we will simply make you disappear."
The punishment the market exacted today sent people scurrying for old-fashioned favorites -- the semiconductors, the PC companies -- and had them fleeing the highflying stuff in droves. The market wants to see secondaries cancelled, it wants to see insiders take a walk. It wants fewer deals and less supply.
Will anybody listen?
For months now everything that had to work did work. The
kept going higher and higher and higher no matter how much supply was issued and how many companies came public.
The action today, coupled with the still-fresh wounds of last week, is saying, "We have had enough for a while. Take a break. Cancel some deals. Give us a chance to digest, or we will throw some more things back in your face."
I don't think, however, that the message will be heeded; there has been too much money made to quit now. That's why more blood will have to be spilled before the message makes its way to the issuers and brokers.
Keep some powder dry. We are going to need it.
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