Worried About People Worried About Y2K

Goldman isn't concerned about the year change, but it <I>is</I> concerned about those who are. How can you buy a bank stock in these conditions?
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What are these banks saying? Is there any hope for them? I am not sure.

I am looking at

First Union

yielding 5% and

Bank One

(ONE) - Get Report

almost yielding 5% and I am thinking, holy cow, don't I have to buy these?

But then we get on a call with

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

, which we are long, and we hear about how Goldman is worried, not about Y2K, but about what other people might do because they are worried about Y2K. Now we are worried because, while Goldman is not worried about Y2K, it thinks other people are worried about Y2K so we have to be worried about those other people, even if Goldman isn't!

Got that? If we are worried that Goldman is not worried but that others are worried, how can we buy a bank stock?

In the meantime, this

BKX

is on a tear down that reminds me of the bank selloff of 1990. That seems ridiculous to me. But I can't call the bottom here. I am sticking by my

Fox

-"TheStreet.com" show

prediction that you simply can't own the banks this year.

As I write, a sell program rages. It is cutting a wide swath. We are deploying some cash into it, but strictly on the bid side, meaning that you have to sell a stock down for us to buy it. Believe me, that's no problem.

Random musings

: Disgruntled

Cabletron

(CS) - Get Report

holders might want to call

Gene Marcial

from

BusinessWeek

for a little help out of this fundamental hole. He hasn't rumored it lately; he is probably due. In fact, I was thinking we do a Marcial tote board. After the -- in my opinion -- foolish

Rite-Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

pump right at options expiration (good grief!!), we could predict what he will go for. I say that Cabletron is now a 3-to-1 shot to be in the column.

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