Baffled by this crazy tape? Not sure what to do? There is only one thing you can do when you don't understand what is happening. You have to turn to guys who are never baffled, never confused and always cocksure. You have to go back to the well and visit Buzz Gould and his wired sidekick, Batch Hammer.
Wild market action, isn't it Buzz? What are you guys doing here?
The last couple of days have been hard, honestly, Jim, until the last half-hour yesterday. We had gotten the call that a big seller of
puts had come in the market and we called the gang, you know, our buddies, and we all came in and bought
calls to juke the market right back up. It worked. (Says to Batch: "Do some business with
that Galvin guy's firm. He really helped the cause!")
Batch, how did you know to buy when you did? The timing seems remarkable!
Not at all, Jimmy, not at all. The marketing guys came in to us at 3:30 p.m. and said that our
NAV was down so much that we better get to work to get the market back up again. Buzz and I knew that the NAV was running low -- I think we were down 7% at one time -- so we had to put the afterburners on to cut that down so we didn't get any of those nasty redemptions.
If I can just add, by the way, we got real lucky the day before. I had given Batch a bunch of buy orders on
the retailers, big big buys. But he entered them as sells so we ended up
short a bunch of those suckers and got real lucky. (Aside to Batch: "You marked those trades short, even though they weren't, didn't you Batch? Gotta keep the books straight!")
Are you seeing any patterns in the go-go growth names that you love so much?
hasn't been around to take stocks up and
has been dumping some of our faves. They are killing us.
I meant the
fundamentals, Buzz, has anything fundamentally changed about these stocks that you like?
Fundamental? You mean has anything fundamentally changed in
the chart pattern? Like have there been some dangerous three-houses-and-a-dome patterns or some worrisome flags? Nah, I haven't seen anything fundamental like that.
One thing that is fairly typical of our style of management happened on Monday. We came in Monday and bought the stocks we marked up Friday so the Federales couldn't accuse us marking them. We figure this is a great defense. If we bought them at the end of the quarter and we bought them again the first day of a new quarter, we couldn't possibly be accused of manipulation. We have this game down.
But then for the rest of the week we had to accept that the stocks we bought would revert to the much lower levels they were at before we started our mark-up. Things got out of hand yesterday and we had to start our stabilizing.
I guess you guys are worried about what
will do. Some people are talking about a 75-
basis-point hike. What do you think?
Sometimes, when I am out with the boys for a drink at Scores, I sit there and I wonder, "Wow, that would be a real bummer." But then I just have one of those ice-cold double martinis, Grey Goose of course, and I figure, "What the heck; can't worry about stuff you can't control." Anyway, it would be a fabulous buying opportunity, before, during and after.
Hey, Jimmy, you gotta understand. It is a new paradigm. The Fed is irrelevant to our buying. As long as we keep the stocks in the air, get the old hedge-fund clowns short and then take 'em up and smash 'em upside the greybeards' heads, we are going to do our numbers, get more money in and mark 'em up just like we always have for these last five years. That's our style, our strategy, so to speak, and we can't deviate from it. That's how you get in trouble.
Thanks guys. You sure have it figured out.
Oh yeah, one thing has changed. We haven't had a steady flow of deals that we can flip. That has cut down on the performance a little. You know that in our big year (last year), 65% of the performance came from flipping hot issues? That game's dead right now.
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James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. 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