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This Wild Thin Market

Look for some strange action before the bell.
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In the last hour this market moved up 100 points on what I would bet was no more than $50 million in buying of the SPX futures. Nothing happened to justify the ramp. Nothing happened to justify the decline, either, though.

But this does get to the point that I am trying to hammer home here. You can't be fooled by these short-term moves in thin volume. A couple of buyers or a couple of sellers coming in at the same time can push this market 100 points in either direction. That's why I wish the exchange had closed. I am sure that institutional pride has a sort of "neither rain now snow, etc., deters the rounds" motif to it, but without two-way markets you get moves like we just had. When they are up, nobody complains. But when they move the market down, it is seems downright sinister.

Two-way markets are the answer to most of the market's problems. Right now we need time to match buyers and sellers. But there isn't any. And there is no natural stabilization process. So stay tuned for some potential wildness at the bell.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of 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

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