Oh, How these Bald Guys will turn on a dime

Why are Americans fascinated by CNBC's Jim Cramer, Jeff Macke and Pete Najarian and what are they telling me to do now?

A friend visiting the US from Europe recently told me that he had watched CNBC from 6 to 9, and that he couldn't understand what all of these folks were screaming about. Why they were saying to buy this and sell that? How they could be so self-assured about every stock that they mentioned? What were their motivations?

I tried to explain that this is the latest thing in American financial television and Fast Money and Mad Money are entertainment more than anything else.

My friend said that while it may be intended as entertainment, she feared the entire country was watching this stuff, and that this kind of behavior could cause too many people to pile in at the wrong times and could cause a real and potentially unnecessary panic in the market.

After watching CNBC this evening, I am now afraid that is exactly what is going to happen.

We have just come through a breathtaking rally in the stock market. I for one believe that the market is overvalued, and that this growth has been on the back of emerging markets, a weak dollar and decent (but not necessarily spectacular earnings). I also believed that these things would not necessarily continue to work to the market's advantage much longer. I also think that the recent rise was largely driven by Apple, which I believe may still be appropriately valued here. While I felt that housing or energy could undermine the market's advances, I believed that these risks were always out there. So, I believed that while there was a risk of a small correction, I didn't see a crash in the cards.

A couple of weeks ago, after my discussion with my friend from Europe, I realized that my friend was in fact right and that the hype that these shows were creating hype that was causing the market to rise more dramatically than it should. Everybody, including my shoeshine boy and my doorman, were watching these shows, and trying to get into Cramer's or Macke's latest picks.

The market has been down big this week. My first reaction was that it is a natural and overdue correction. But, when I watched Cramer this evening, he was saying to sell this and avoid that, and wait on this until it is 50% lower. Then, Fast Money came on and these guys who were talking last week about how you can't afford to miss this move were suddenly saying that you should get out of everything if you cannot afford to lose money or if the market is going to keep you up at night.

I don't think that rising energy or the loan market are more severe risks this week than they were last week. Countrywide's warning was arguably a proximate cause to this week's fall, but everybody already knew that the housing / mortgage market was still in the early innings of a long fall beforehand, didn't they?

I now believe that too many people are following Cramer and the Fast Money guys and that these folks are going to be quickly led to panic. I think that we could have an especially severe and quick move down as my shoeshine boy and doorman sell out at losses at the advice of Jim Cramer and Jeff Macke.

While the market doesn't scare me, these guys did tonight.

Jason Rodgers
Jason Rodgers: Jason Rodgers was an experienced research analyst for a major bank prior to retiring to run his own investment consultancy in beautiful Lihue, Hawaii. Jason contributed articles to BestCashCow from 2008 to 2014.

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  • Anonymous

    July 27, 2007

    These guys are just fun to watch. As long as you don't take them to seriously you're fine. Do you honestly believe they are giving their best tips to everyone? Come on. They should publish their personal portfolios.

  • Anonymous

    July 28, 2007

    I was right. These guys did it. They scared everyone. I can't bear to watch them tonight and see their scared little faces.

  • John Dennison

    August 03, 2007

    My British friends were able to understand these bald guys and did find them fun to watch. They actually found Cramer so fun that they sent a note to CNBC asking they put him on the international edition. They were much more concerned with the fact that Anderson Cooper (who they kept calling Gloria Vanderbilt's son who keeps saying "um") is actually considered a broadcast journalist here.

  • TJT1191

    August 16, 2007

    I was just watching Fast Money and now these guys are saying to get short everything. Thanks, very helpful to give that info after the market has crashed. These guys are reactionary and a contrarian indicator - probably a good time to get long.

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