You want to know why the market loves cyclicals? I think many of the answers to the saneness of today's market -- and I mean saneness, because when this many issues go up, it's pretty sane -- can be found in this
story. In fact, it is like a microcosm of what was wrong with last year's market and what is right with the stuff that's going up now.
First, the sheer willingness of the participants in this bidding war to destroy their own stocks in the name of getting this property scares the heck out of everybody. It is reminiscent of when the oil companies went nuts buying each other in the early '80s, or when the airlines and the tobacco companies did the same in the late '80s. I mean, whoa, step back -- what are you doing with our stock, ladies and gentlemen? Do you think we don't give a whit about dilution? Do you think that earnings will never matter?
Second, where were all of these visionaries when these cable stocks were going begging? The cable stocks were nowhere for so long, and then they erupted in this frenzy of mutual fund buying to levels that seem downright ridiculous. On top of all of that come
? Give me a break. No medals for being late to the game.
Third, how worried are these companies about the future that suddenly MediaOne and its cable holdings have become the key to their coming success or failure? What happens if we all decide to go wireless? What would all of that money and stock have been spent for? What happens if people get serious about getting T-1 systems in their homes? I have a cable modem and a T-1 connection, and I would trade the cable modem for half the speed of the T-1. And if it is so darn important, do the companies that don't win have a viable chance in the future?
Fourth, Microsoft, the most highly valued company in the world, thinks it's not getting credit for Internet properties? Please don't give me that line. Microsoft wants these off the books and into the hands of a market that can't discriminate about .coms and loves them all. Great. More .coms. Yeah, we need more .coms. Right now.
The whole thing leaves me wondering whether I shouldn't just go buy some
or some other non-"media" company that doesn't involve wiring and computers and the Net.
And why not? Last I looked, they were the only companies making money for their shareholders, which, in the end, is the name of the game.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Microsoft, although positions 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