Too Many Smart Investors - TheStreet

Too Many Smart Investors

Everyone is playing the same game out there today, and Cramer finds it tough to make money on some things unless you jump on them really early.
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Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report has legs. It has trumped the sector's negativity for the day.

Microsoft, Dell, IBM: Join the discussion on

TSC

Message Boards. It has restored some luster to tech. It has obliterated concerns expressed by

EMC

(EMC)

(about McData -- and not helped by an in-line revenue report) and dispelled worries expressed by

Xilinx

(XLNX) - Get Report

about possible inventory builds in the system.

The problem is that everybody these days is so smart about these things that you can't make any money off this unless you do it before, at the most unknown moments.

Let's take a trade I tried to do this morning with

Gateway

(GTW)

. I figured, correctly, that Mister Softee's "awesome" demand

comment would ignite the sector. I was able to buy some

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

before the opening --

shared with the site.

But I had my heart set on getting some Gateway. I figured that Gateway, which was brought down yesterday by

Dell

(DELL) - Get Report

, would now be boosted today by Microsoft.

The pre-opening look from the floor of the exchange (which consists of asking my human broker what the picture is before the market opened) showed that there was a little stock to buy and it looked like it could open almost unchanged.

But then I went to take 15,000. Suddenly the look changed to 50-51. I canceled my order. I looked elsewhere. The moment before the opening is so hectic that I chose not to get another look. Next thing I know, it opens at 48 as others canceled. Great opening. Terrific opportunity. I then tried to buy some at 48 and change. But others did the same and I got none. There was none out there till 49.

Opportunity lost.

Now it is at 51.

I was pennywise, yes, but what amazed me is that every one of my moves mimicked the moves of others. Everybody is playing the same game. Had I gotten in at the opening, it would not have opened at 48. But at 48 it worked.

It was a trade that looks great on paper but could simply not be had in the size I needed to make it work for me.

What a great opportunity, though, for the guy who wants to buy a couple hundred shares!! Can't sneer at the $1,000 someone else could have made off this one. It just doesn't pay the nut around here.

Random musings:

And you ask me why I hate

Gene Marcial's

work? I have a big long-term position in

Dial

(DL) - Get Report

. Recently Marcial wrote about completely unsubstantiated rumors of

Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

to buy Dial. I knew they were not true and I

wrote it right then. But tons of bad money came into the stock off that stupid article.

The result? Take a look -- we are getting crushed. I say FOUL!

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Microsoft, Intel and Dial. 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.