There's No Safe Way to Play the Net

You can't look at stocks like FDX and think you can get around the inherently high-risk nature of the Internet, Cramer says.
Author:
Publish date:

Turns out that FDX (FDX) - Get Report was a pretty crummy way to play the Net after all.

During the Net's heyday, I used to hear people come on the tube and say on our site and in

Barron's

, etc., that they were going to capture the upside of the Net through safer, better ways. And I would laugh because there is no safe way to play the Net. It is inherently high-risk.

But the FDX stuff was always way off base. FDX is a giant company. It is leveraged to many things: Asia, Europe, oil, labor costs,

UPS

. When you have that many dynamics, you are fooling yourself when you try to peg it as a

play on the Net.

I am hearing lots of people make the same case for the newspapers now, that because there is so much brand-building by IPO-flush Net companies, you can own

Tribune

(TRB)

or

Knight-Ridder

(KRI)

.

Wrong! You own those stocks if you think that classified and display ads are robust and newsprint is going down and ad rates are going up. That's why.

When you hear someone trying to buy into a hot area with a "safe" play, remember how much money is being lost by FDX investors today. And you will save a ton of money. There are no safe ways to play high-risk areas.

Random musings:

Funny how these

message boards influence you. I was about to say that my partner,

Jeff Berkowitz

, just went home, and then I recalled that someone took me to task for mentioning my friend Berko too much. Ouch! He's my partner. He felt confident enough that the market wasn't going to go down big (we would never care if it went up big) that he could head out.

And then I said, "What the heck, the guy who criticized me doesn't like me anyway!"

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

jjcletters@thestreet.com.