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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jim Cramer

I have been updating my del.icio.us links on the right sidebar with stories I find interesting and hope you will too...see "Things On The Internet That Caught My Eye" on the right (yes, a lot of political stories right now).

I was going to drop this one over there, but decided it was worth its own post. In this piece, Gawker details Jim Cramer's Erratic Year:

"Jim Cramer has changed his mind! Just last week, you may recall, the shouty CNBC stock picker appeared close to tears as he begged Americans to pull all the cash they'd need for the next five years out of the crippled stock market. Well, whatever, that was last week. Now he says that we've already reached "the beginning of the end of the crisis." That sure was fast! This, of course, is in line with his (physical and intellectual) penchant for wild gesticulation. Let's take a brief look back at Mr. Cramer's unpredictable recent past, shall we?"

Read the rest here.

I am torn about Cramer. I thought his first book, "Confessions of a Street Addict", was nothing short of brilliant. If you have not read it, do so. It is a real eye-opener. I also communicated frequently with Cramer via email in the late 90s...dare I say we actually had somewhat of a "correspondence relationship" that covered everything from trading to technology companies to sports events. Of course, this is before he became a "mega-star" (love him or hate him, that is what he is...his exposure is phenomenal). I even had a phone conversation with him once because a startup tech company I worked for had done certain "questionable" things with stock options and he was composing a story about these practices.

But, I grew tired of Cramer trying to predict the markets. I grew tired of the flip-flops. I grew tired of his calls to buy "XYZ" going into earnings; I mean, WTF? Even if earnings are good there are so many things that can cause a stock to tank...and Cramer would have his viewers/readers buying these stocks into earnings time after time in what was - to me - nothing but reckless gambling.

CNBC has guest after guest - including Cramer - that come on every day and tell you what they think is going to happen in the market, or with particular stocks. What bothers me is very few are held accountable because there are just so damn many of them, and once they leave they are forgotten until the next time they come on with new predictions. There is a reason that I only trade intraday - because I don't have the risk tolerance to trade on a longer timeframe given all the things that can affect a stock day to day. And I think trying to prognosticate on the market and individual stocks longer-term is a thankless job because your "predictions" are subject to too many external factors. So I feel for Cramer in that respect. But it is what he has chosen to do - and he gets paid for his over-the-top, inane antics...so I am glad there is someone holding him accountable.

Anyway, enough rambling. I still remember the Cramer from 10-years ago that I found to be helpful, funny, and insightful. Today I pretty much avoid him.



Kevin said...

Nice writeup. He lost all credibility with me because of that circus he calls a show. He is just courting the lowest denominator, who should not be in stocks anyway.

Nate said...

I think you have to look at Cramer as an entertainer, of which he is a dam good one. His success rate should be irrelevent. People should watch his show for fun, and learn to think for themselves.

John said...

The problem is that while we view him as an entertainer, the average person looks to him for advice. And they make decisions based on what he says.