Once again the public was smarter than the talking heads. Once again the public took advantage of a sale that professionals and margined individuals held. They poured the money on big to mutual funds at an important low, and they named their own prices when they did so.
I can't stress enough how stupid the public was viewed when I got this into this business. Everything the public did was wrong. We never joked publicly about the public when I worked at
in the '80s, but many privately tried to bet against it in their personal accounts.
The most major change that I can recall during the last 10 years is the incredible sophistication on the part of the public. Where it used to sell into weakness, it buys; where it used to panic after the fire, it now acts prudently. The public learned the lesson of the '87 crash, when it performed quite badly. It learned that unless the fundamentals truly changed, you take capital that you have accumulated and you put it to work.
Certainly a lot of the money that came in the last week came because people had gotten tax refunds. Maybe it skewed the input to the upside. But the days when the public would suck out money after a decline are long gone. That's only something I hear the professionals talk about doing.
Sure, when the book on the era is written, someone might look back at this column and say, Cramer praised the public right at the top. To which I say, I have been praising the public's action for years, and as of this morning it doesn't look like I did it at the top any time before. And, for the record, I have vocally criticized the actions of professionals like
, who poured gasoline on a small Asian fire and panicked people in this country into selling during the last great buying opportunity in 1997. I have done so even though it has earned me nothing but opprobrium from the Fraternity.
So, public, congratulations on naming your own price. You did it right again.
: Don't forget to get your calls in tonight for me on the taping of
"TheStreet.com" TV show this weekend on
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