Trying to take the temperature of the market? Watch
. This, the largest deal ever, has also been one of the biggest bombs ever and is stinking up whole sections of people's portfolios. It's the eyesore, the veritable junkyard across from the
Statue of Liberty
. You can't landfill it and you can't build on it. It's toxic and painful. Ever since this deal was priced Wall Street has been "lugging" this piece of merchandise. That's slang, and you'd better learn it, for stock that nobody wants to own. You can't sell it down here and you can't buy it because it feels like it's going lower.
On Wednesday, this stock actually traded better. I think it was because a block of 3 million shares the day before got put away.
Great traders, like great card players, remember hands from earlier in the game. When I saw this stock lift today I was thinking, hmm, maybe that 3 million-share block was someone who decided to stop lugging. It was a "give-up," the kind of institutional capitulation that marks a bottom. Heaven forbid this turns out to be Palm II! That would do grave damage to the market because this deal is much bigger than
. Watch this stock. If it lifts and gets back to the offering price that would be a sign that selling pressure is abating. If it keeps foundering, that's a sign that we're still in weak hands. It's the perfect tell of whether there is too much inventory floating around or whether supply is tight.
Keep in mind while it's bullish that there isn't a lot of supply coming into the market right now other than insiders -- and May is the peak month; it is not healthy that
can price. One of the reasons why all of these deals are being canceled is because AWE and a host of secondaries really gutted peoples' performance and forced the brokerages to take down lots of inventory they don't want. Any climb by AWE would be very bullish for the underwriting market and therefore a reasonable proxy for leanness of supply. Any decline shows that too many people are still lugging and don't want new merchandise. Something to keep an eye on.
Don't forget to join me on my chat tonight on
. We can really mix it up and you can ask me repeatedly whether the bottom has been reached and I can say repeatedly that I don't know!!
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long America Online and ATt&T Wireless. 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