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Waiting for the Tells

There are no all-clear signals in this market, just signs of no conviction.
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We want someone to give us a sign: The DOT's done going down, the cyclicals are through rallying, and the bonds have finished their retracement.

But that's too easy. There are no all-clears. Just lots of trading cross-currents, money being put to work from the beginning of the month, continuation of buy orders for the cyclicals for institutions that haven't gotten all of their stock in, signs of no conviction.

We are playing lean, buying cyclicals on weakness, down to core Net and tech positions, having cash -- at


11,000 that's no sin -- and waiting for more tells. We want more clues. We want to see what the enemy has in store for us.

This stance is born of strength. We don't have to put money to work, and we can wait to see what the employment number, which AGAIN IGNITED THIS WHOLE RALLY, brings to us Friday. Better than having to sell them Thursday when everyone realizes that the number looms large.

That said, how about some positives? The market was up 200 yesterday and isn't getting clocked today, the Net is showing some resilience ahead of

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report tonight, and tech seems to be stabilizing. If I had any guts (and no fears of the short side up here), I would probably sell out-of-the-money DOT calls as it seems like if the DOT comes back, it won't be with the pre-


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decline power.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund had no positions in the stocks mentioned, although holdings 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 at