OK, it was a rockin' show. Like everything else we try to do at
, we tried to help YOU make money. It was too substantive a show to just forget about, so let me give you a description of how I would have made money watching it at home.
We started out with Ken Schapiro from
getting drilled by
and me on three stocks:
. Schapiro's a solid money manager who has appeared on "Taking Stock" a bunch of times on
. (Uh oh, I hope his helping us doesn't hurt him with
, as I know those guys are gunning for us.) I don't know if he was ready for the kind of .55 caliber, steel-jacketed bullets we were firing at him -- yep, it wasn't your usual soft-pitch show -- but he seemed to have a lot of conviction for his names. He talked about the giant drugs Merck has in the pipeline and how the stock is trading cheaper than it would be if it weren't for Medicare worries. I didn't see much there because, frankly, I am not blown away by their pipeline, but Merck has great management and can't be ruled out as an investment.
Then we went on to AT&T. I am long the darn thing and think it trades like a dog, as one municipality after another seems to adopt
open-access rap, something that would make buying cable a pretty stupid investment if it keeps winning. And AT&T has bought a lot of cable. His defense, thinking longer-term, didn't wash with me, and, if
weren't thinking this could be a big stock down the road, I would dump it.
We didn't give Ken enough time to defend Xerox, other than to say that international sales pessimism has created an opportunity here as the stock's not cheap. I think at $55, I would be a buyer.
Then Herb and I were broomed for a few minutes, and
faced off against
for some knock-out TV. This is by far the best segment in my judgment, as these two guys showed clear conviction and articulated the pros and cons fantastically.
First Chartman Gary B. tried to make a case that AOL's chart says buy. All I can say is the last two times I heard Gary B. talk about this one, he nailed it and I was glad I was long. Adam blasted AOL with the expensive per-subscriber rap and the open-access boogie man. Didn't shake me out of it.
Then they went to work on eBay. GBS says eBay equals
in his book and urged sale. He talked about a $50 price target. Adam talked about 750 million reasons to be long: the $750 million it raised in a gonzo secondary offering. That was enough to freak me out if I were short it. Advantage Adam.
Then Herb and I came back out with Brenda and
, our editor-in-chief.
(Make no bones about it, I love Kansas. One day, when the stories of this great young institution,
, are told, you will all come to realize that this nonpromotional midwesterner with the funny hair -- I know, at least he has some -- is the reason why we will one day dominate the Web around the world for financial news. Heck, he is the reason why we are in business today. Two years ago this week, when we were bleeding from the eyeballs and I didn't know what to do with
, he made his case to me and the
alive because he believed we could be the best journalism on the Web. He has fulfilled his pledge. Now he wants to do the same with TV and, after seeing the results of this first effort, I believe he will.)
So we all mixed it up. First we tackled the
tracking stock and Herb made me eat my words that all tracking stocks are bad because I admitted I would be a buyer of this one. The difference, as Dave pointed out, it that Microsoft's management is so great that you want to buy any stock they issue, including a tracking stock.
Then we talked about whether
was a buy. Herb was positively inclined, which almost made me fall out of my chair. I talked about how these guys are like
; the fault is not in the monsoons or bad weather or bad-smelling Coke or unrest, but in themselves. Management doesn't know what it is doing. (Of course, the Brutus thing came to me after the taping, but that's the way it is sometimes.)
Finally, Dave talked about how senseless and stupid it is to try to follow what
is up to, in this case with its AOL position, because you really have no way of knowing that the firm is really doing. We all agreed.
Right before we left we made some predictions. It was like everything else with
: If you try to weasel, you will get hosed. We are approaching this like sports, not news. You can and will see our records after every show.
are in a foot race to One Hundo and my money was on Novellus, even though AMAT is three points ahead. I said you didn't need the points. This prediction could juice because NVLS reports Monday. (Told you we are trying to do something substantive here.) Herb predicted that
goes to zero on a bankruptcy filing. Kansas went with a relatively safe one:
has good numbers and ignites another bull leg to the market.
I didn't want the show to end. Even though it was Friday night after a long week, I just wanted to sit there and talk with these guys about stocks. Heck, we should have kept the camera rolling as we went to a bar afterward for more stock talk. It was so darned exciting. Herb is really the Herb you see. He is worried about my bullishness. Lashinsky is a bulldog who wants to break news more than any newsperson I can recall. Dave, well, Dave is about getting fired up and mixing it up. And telling the truth. Brenda kept us all honest, while functioning as an anchor with a special talent to know how to keep things rolling.
There were a few unsung people Friday night. One is
our producer who simply wanted to put on the most honest, best and informative business program I have ever seen. Having done a lot of TV during the last few years, I can tell you that Gary is not going to be stopped until everyone watches our show -- because to not do so would be financial suicide. I can't tell you how many times he told me to be exactly as I would at
, which, in the end is exactly how I was and will be. I also want to express my gratitude to
and Beth Ailes, both of whom made the show as strong as possible with great ideas and suggestions.
The other guy I want to thank is Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News Channel. After being treated like a miserable beast of burden by the managements of two other networks, how refreshing it was to be treated like, well, a human being. For that guy, heck, I'm giving the best show I got. So is everybody else.
And we did. Until next week.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long AT&T, AOL, Microsoft and Novellus. 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