Sometimes, after a vicious day like today, I like to look at what can go right in the following days. When my partner,
, and I had our wrap-up meeting, one of five we held Tuesday, we tried to play with both sides of the ledger. I think I have mentioned many of the negatives throughout the day and don't want to dwell on the negatives. That's the media's job and it does it darn well!!
What could go right?
First, we could lose a lot of bulls and create the wall of worry that got us this high to begin with. I do believe the
10,000 aura created a false sense of security that made you feel like a loser if you weren't 100% long. How will we know if we have more bears? We get the
poll results tomorrow. That will provide an instant clue. A reading of below 50% bulls would help.
Second, the fact that
just reported a penny better than much-reduced earnings expectations, as well as in-line sales and a nice buyback, might provide a short-term floor for tech. You know that I don't invest on irony, but we were worried that 3Com would be even worse than it was. This number might help cheer tech's weary morale.
Third, the bonds could put in a rally now that the
deal is out of the way. (The air war in Kosovo did not cause any sort of flight to quality in Treasuries today.) I thought the T deal shouldn't have hurt the bond market as badly as it did, but my bond folks tell me I am wrong.
Fourth, money managers might feel like deploying what cash they have at the end of what still is an up quarter. This is a slim read that had more power 200 points ago.
Frankly, these reasons are not enough to make me out-and-out positive about the market, even if they all go right. Sure, I thought the close was not as ugly as it could have been, but that just seemed like locals covering shorts (SPX futures traders who were short the market flattening out their trades by buying back shorts).
What I really want to see is a bigger oversold reading (check
column, which monitors this stuff better than anything else), which would tell me that the selling is overdone. That takes time. We have to have more down days to get oversold and that would be cured by a bounce right here.
On the print front I saw prints from T and
, big down prints, that held. (Meaning merchandise was priced "in the hole" and the stocks rallied.) That's also a good sign. But we have to see a lot more of those before the all-clear can be sounded.
Against that, though, it seemed to me that the desks around Wall Street have had a lot of stock put to them (meaning they are long) by sellers who got out at higher levels. You never want to see the big trading desks long. Desks seem like they are "lugging," meaning they are burdened by merchandise. We want them short stocks, not long them, when we are bullish. When they are long them these desks will be a continual source of supply.
The takeaway: Seems like we aren't done going down. I don;t feel good or bad about my buys. I am glad I stuck my bids in and got hit, but equally glad that I did not get aggressive so I have plenty of room to buy at lower levels, levels I think we will see. But I lost money today -- wow, talk about something you are never supposed to say -- and I can't ever feel good about that.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At the time of publication the fund was long AT&T, though positions can 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 by sending an email to