Normally, I write a diary about what I am doing. But occasionally I feel compelled to talk about what I know some of you are doing. This is one of those times.
Time to talk margin again. I can tell from your emails that many of you have not kicked this habit. I feel like one of those exaddicts who goes around the circuit of tough high schools and talks about the dangers of margin.
But it is worth talking about because we just had a huge rally that will give new life to the speculators out there who were hanging on by their fingernails. Those who doubled down on Friday into the maw of the bear now feel like they have licked the dreaded ursine characters and are ready to press their luck at the stock gaming tables.
Forget about it. Use the rally as a liquidity event for yourself. This morning, at the opening, reduce that margin. Take things off the table. Raise cash. Get back into a position of strength. You are not in a position of strength right now. You are in a position of hope.
What is hope? Hope is the enemy of the cold reasoning that we need to make the tough decisions to deploy capital correctly and intelligently. When I traded with my wife, Karen, we used to review our positions every hour. She would grill me about a position that we were down on and she would say,"What will happen there, what are you looking for?" I would hesitate for a second and I would say, "Well, I hope that..." And she would cut me off savagely with, "Save hope for the
, pal; this isn't football."
She was right. If you are leveraged you have just been given another chance to redeem yourself. Take it.
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