The Market's New Bad Habit

Cramer documents a disturbing pattern at work in the stock market today.
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Uh oh.

Merrill Lynch

pushes a dot-com, and people use the recommendation to sell. That's certainly a new pattern. And a disturbing one.

E*Trade

(EGRP)

splits two for one, and the stock goes down. That's certainly a new pattern. And a disturbing one.

Credit Suisse First Boston

moves to sell ratings on a bunch of banks. Everybody else reiterates their buys, and the stocks get clocked anyway. That's certainly a new pattern. And a disturbing one.

Are you seeing the new and disturbing pattern yet?

I tend to discount the morning after an expiration because there can be a lot of derivative backing and filling at work. But if we keep this new pattern up (as well as the noticeable failure of some of the smaller dot-com deals last week) into the afternoon, it will be time to raise more cash until this painful and extrapolated non-

Dow

stock selloff runs its course.

The advance/decline line may be positive, but I don't know how to stay bullish when people are using recommendations to exit positions and stocks reverse after opening higher. A truly killer pattern.

The sidelines feel awfully nice here.

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

letters@thestreet.com.