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The Market's Far Stronger Than the Net Indicates

For every Qwest, there are a dozen International Papers, Cramer points out.

"I forget -- is it bad that a Net person is on


, or is it good?"

That's just, now, our in-house Net, ah, tech, ah, generalist musing about the loss of the


Net effect on the market.

Yes, things have changed quite a bit since

Matt Jacobs

joined us earlier this year to augment our research team at

Cramer Berkowitz

. We no longer know whether it is good or bad news that



will be featured on "Squawk Box" this morning.

But something else has changed. For the better. The big bearish rap against the Net was that, when it tumbled, it would bring the whole market down. It would infect everything and crush everything.

The exact opposite has happened. You may not be able to tell from your mutual fund statement or your individual holdings, but the

S&P 500

and the


are incredibly strong here. In fact, they are completely immune to the 50% decline in the Net. They seem to thrive on the Net's vulnerability. Did you catch the action in stocks like

Union Carbide




(MMM) - Get 3M Company Report



(EBAY) - Get eBay Inc. Report


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were blowing up? You had to marvel at the revenge of stocks like

International Paper

(IP) - Get International Paper Company (IP) Report



(GT) - Get Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company Report

, two companies that would never issue millions of shares

a la




Global Crossing


or DoubleClick, for that matter.

Yes, the overall health of the market is so strong that the

Abby Joseph Cohens

of the world have nothing to say here. They can't defend their positions because they have nothing to defend. The averages aren't the problem.

I know I focus on the Net, mostly because that's where we are meeting. But yesterday I bought some lumber and some chemical companies because business is well above plan. I bought some semiconductor communications names because their businesses are well above plan.

So, while we lick our Net wounds, remember, the market is far stronger -- and the bull much more intact -- than the Net indicates. For every Qwest, there are a dozen International Papers, and for every



, there are 10 Union Carbides.

Maybe there is still time to learn other names.

Random musings:

The margin clerks' revenge could continue. I hate it when the dot-coms are up before the opening, as they are right now. To get a crescendo, a real selloff that puts in a bottom, you have to see these stocks open down big and then rally into the close.

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