Moth to flame; that's me and
. I want to buy this darn thing. For one reason only: This was without a doubt the most overly preannounced, overly telegraphed, overly known blowup since the
40 to 7 slide four years ago.
Was there a day since 44 that this stock didn't have a rumor that it was going to blow up? Can you believe how many times this quarter's earnings estimates got cut before it finally got preannounced? Heck,
was cutting numbers an hour before the ink was dry on the blowup.
You had to be on a permanent intellectual vacation not to see this one coming.
But there is only one problem. Business stinks! And I am not going to buy into the "it will get a takeover bid" rap. I also refuse to speculate that management will get axed or that the board will get fed up. These guys seem to wallow in their inability to execute.
When tech blows up, I like to wait. I have played the last two 3Com blowups correctly by using a simple rule of thumb: I wait one month. A month from now I may pull the trigger on 3Com. It has worked before and it will work again.
If business has turned at all for 3Com, it will be evident a month from now. Of the dozen different things that went wrong for the company, it is entirely possible that something will go right and there could be a TRADE.
But not yet. Now it is just dead money.
And unlike all of the other times when 3Com has rebounded, the competitive landscape has changed drastically. Everybody wants in on 3Com's turf. That's why seeing even 32 again any time soon could be a real stretch, in my opinion.
So why bother to check in a month from now? Because 3Com is one of those stocks that always gets downgraded concurrently with its disappointment. Everybody hates 3Com now, but the moment something is positive, the Street will not be able to resist and we will get a tradeable upgrade. My job, as a trader, is to anticipate that such an upgrade will occur and be in for that trade.
For now, I will simply monitor it on my screen. But five weeks from now, I will be making my calls, trying to make that trade. It will, alas, just be a trade, though. 3Com is no longer considered "investable" by my standards. The company just isn't good enough.
Played hooky and took the day off to be with my wife and pick up my kids from school. Berko must have sensed a short-term burnout because I was raring to go back after lunch, but he urged me to stay home. I am glad he did; that last 15-minute buy spurt would have had me flummoxed, given the dive in the bonds.
But it looks like the
end-of-day buyer/seller crowd has taken a respite, perhaps because of the glare of publicity? Wouldn't that be a godsend? Oops, I broke the cardinal rule -- admitted to being flummoxed by a rally. Guess I should have said: "Had I been at my desk I would have written at 3:30 p.m. that it is time to cover and go long
and the other techs for a really good trade because I foresee a short-covering rally into the bell."
Wrong! Nobody's that good. Nobody.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. 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 email@example.com.