On the fence in this debate are tech and banks. Tech should be better with Europe and China coming back, but you can't jump the gun as Hewlett-Packard's ( HPQ) results tell you. The banks? They do better in a sloping curve environment because they can pay you next to nothing and lend and invest your dollars at much higher returns. In the interim, though, they have to readjust their book of business because the higher rates have slammed down the refinancing gold mine and the lack of affordability has hurt mortgage applications. Banks are in flux. We just don't know enough and we just don't have enough data to make a good decision. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, had no positions in the stocks mentioned.A Vicious Coda to the Ballmer YearsPosted at 10:26 p.m. EDT on Friday, Aug. 23 To survive as a technology company in this day and age you need to be dominant in social, mobile and the cloud. Steve Ballmer's Microsoft ( MSFT) failed terribly with the first two -- despite owning Skype! -- and says it's big in the third, but I don't know a soul in the business who thinks that. That's why, in the end, he had to go.
The market is brutal. The swift reaction, a gigantic gain, is a vicious coda to the Ballmer years. I keep thinking that Microsoft was the one company with the capital to have figured out how to change. Most companies that fall out of favor both with the marketplace, meaning the actual business, and the investing public don't have that money or that luxury. Think of Kodak. But Ballmer's Microsoft was brimming with cash. At any given time Ballmer could have bought Netflix ( NFLX) or Twitter or Yahoo! ( YHOO) or even Sprint ( S) and reinvented the company, turning it into a social and mobile powerhouse. But he never did. Instead he hooked up with a sinking Nokia ( NOK) for mobile and never monetized Skype the way he should have and failed to buy Yahoo!, which was a dreadful decision.