James J. Cramer

James J. Cramer

A weeklong electronic journal.
Feb. 22 1997 3:30 AM

James J. Cramer

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       Wrong! There's nothing more humbling than my business. Yesterday, I bought and bought aggressively, when I should have been selling. The market just fell apart at the end of the day. It's like blowing the SAT and then being handed your losing scores while you walk out the door. In my case, of course, because of my "Diary," I have the added disadvantage of having my scores posted on the Internet. But there is one difference: They let me take the test over again today. And they only count the last one.
       It's 5:15 a.m. now. Came in extra early to try to discern whether there will be follow-through to yesterday's down-97 action. Also, couldn't sleep. Never can after being as wrong as I was yesterday. All those beautiful takes of Microsoft and Intel and Proctor & Gamble that I described so vividly yesterday turned into hideous unrealized losses--in the hundreds of thousands of dollars--by the end of the trading session. From the look of things, it's going to be another rough one. Europe's taking a pounding, and U.S. stocks are indicated even lower off of yesterday's declines.
       I carry my business around with me like a giant steamer trunk. Last night I went to an art opening at my wife Karen's gallery (Fotouhi-Cramer) of exceptionally striking work by Joe Nicastri--"The Holocaust Present Tense." A dinner followed. As is often the case, one part of my brain is trying to absorb the incredibly moving pieces--Joe's work is a breathtaking reminder of man's inhumanity to man--while the other is trying to gauge how I could have been so wrong at reading the day's action. Nagging. Nagging. I still haven't figured it out. And I have only four hours to do so.
       It wasn't entirely a lost week. The Philadelphia Inquirer piece on Tasty Baking I clipped from Monday's paper made me some dough, on an unrealized basis, of course. And I certainly gamed the Hewlett right. Got some good comments on my The Street stuff. Oh, who am I kidding. If I don't make back what I lost yesterday it will be a crummy week. A week in which I have fallen behind. A week in which had I been smarter, faster, and more prescient, I would have seen the sell-off coming. Maybe one day I will judge my workweeks by how many people I've helped. Or by whether I had a good time at the opera, or the movies. Or how my kids did at school. But right now I judge them by the hundreds of numbers on the six screens facing me. Wrong numbers.