When did

Janus

know that the fundamentals were deteriorating at its key holdings, and why did it do nothing about it? Without answering these questions, it is impossible to know what to do with the Janus funds.

You see, money managers are supposed to sell when they find out that the fundamentals have taken a turn for the worse. They can't ignore the fundamentals. They can't go "long term" on us. That's not how successful money is run in this country. We know that, because, what happens is that the money gets taken away if you run it that way. And once the money gets taken away, you get the dreaded spiral of

underperformance and redemption

that Janus is experiencing right now.

It is OK, for example, for

Warren Buffett

to stick with

Coke

(KO) - Get Report

or even

Gillette

(G) - Get Report

if they falter. He has control over the money. But with a mutual fund the control rests with you, the shareholders, and we know that shareholders do eventually vote with their feet when they sense that something has changed.

That's why Janus can't afford to sit there and do nothing as a

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

or a

PMC-Sierra

(PMCS)

or a

Broadcom

goes up in flames. It has to take action. Perhaps, though, Janus got too big? Perhaps it was afraid to take action, for fear that it would accentuate a downward spiral in the same way that its incessant buying of its few favorites moved these stocks up effortlessly.

This Janus story is the story of the undoing of the leadership of the old bull market. It demands to be followed because it is the flip side of the deterioration of the fundamentals. It is what is keeping a lid on the "good" stocks in the Janus portfolios.

Why focus on the run on Janus? Because, as I have said a gazillion times in this publication, it is not enough to know the fundamentals of a stock to figure out if it is going up or down. You also need to know the flow of funds. And the flow of funds out of Janus is a larger story than the fundamentals for some companies right now.

Random musings:

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James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column to

jjcletters@thestreet.com.