James Cramer

The last chapter of Kate Kelly’s Wall Street Journal epic on the decline and fall of Bear Stearns tells us that the “hurried deal” to keep Bear Stearns out of bankruptcy included a “loophole” that gave Bear Stearns investors leverage to seek a higher price. By now this story of the loophole is well-known, thanks in part to a New York Times front page story that first reported it. In time this story is likely to harden into conventional wisdom, especially now that it’s been endorsed by both the Times and the Journal.
Unfortunately, the story probably isn’t true.

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Cramer raises a good question: why, of all the many, many things he’s been wrong about in the past, did Fox Business chose to dwell on his advice to keep one’s money with Bear Stearns, in today’s WSJ and NYT? Just out of curiosity.

cramerspitzerphotobooth.jpgHow easy would it be to chalk Jim Cramer’s horrifically bad guidance to a Mad Money emailer last Tuesday to keep his money in Bear Stearns up to Jim Cramer being just plain clueless? I don’t know, very? But let’s think about this for a sec. JC’s given what’s known in the business as “shitty investment advice” in the past, that’s an incontrovertible fact. But has he ever been this off? As far as we can tell, he’s not officially retarded—or Tim Sykes. So what was it then, that made him tell “Peter,” “No! No! No! Bear Stearns is not in trouble. If anything, they’re more likely to be taken over. Don’t move your money from Bear”? Once again, the answer lies with Eliot Spitzer’s love of whores. As you well know, JC was very shook up about not being brought into the inner circle of Spitzer’s prostitution ring. He was in no position to be giving counsel about anything. Once the shock of the betrayal, or as he’s been referring to it among friends and colleagues “My Personal Crying Game,” wore off, Cramer came to his senses and said the common stock was “worthless” on Friday. What we’re trying to say, Peter, is that you should cross “Uncle Jim” off your To Maim List, smear some red lipstick on your mouth, and start thinking about how to make Spitzer, and not James, pay for your losses (sources in his pants tell us Silda’s already gone for the obvious, so you’re really going to have to think outside the box on this one).
Oops – CNBC’s Cramer Said ‘Don’t Move’ From Bear a Week Before Collapse [Business & Media Institute]

The New York Post is making a big to do about Jim Cramer losing a $50,000 wager to Eric Bolling, having bet that financial services would be the “hottest sector” of ’07 (Bolling said oil and gold). People who watch Cramer’s show (…) and took his advice lost a bunch of money which the paper think is an OUTRAGE, and a crime worthy of jail time. We pretty much think this falls under the Countrywide Clause (which states that anyone dumb enough to give Angelo “Tanning Bed” Mozillo their money deserves to get screwed) but what the hey, we’ll play along.


‘MAD’ JIM CRAMER LOSES GOLDEN $50K BET [NYP]

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When it comes to making strange bedfellows, modern finance makes politics look like an old-fashioned match-maker. The most famous words on the current financial turmoil came not in the form of a political speech from a major presidential candidate, but from Jim Cramer, a former hedge fund manager turned popular CNBC stockpicker and market prognosticator. His five-and-half minute call for the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, however, strangely recalls the most famous political speech of an earlier era—William Jennings Bryan’s 1896 “Cross of Gold” speech before the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
The emotional desire of the nineteenth-century populist movement Bryan led was to smash the power of Plymouth Rock, which stood for old New England and Wall Street. The emotional desire of what Dan Gross has called “the Punch Bowl Caucus” is to cut interest rates—return the punch bowl—to jazz up the Wall Street party again. But they share an emotional tone—and, more importantly, an economic goal: the loosening of a monetary policy they claim is so tight it is ruining ‘their people.’
Gross’s essay nicely describes the membership of the Punch Bowl Caucus: Wall Street investment banks, hedge fund traders, private equity managers, the chief executives of heavily indebted automakers, the heads of home loan businesses, supply-siders who believe “the government should never intervene in the economy, unless it is to bail out hedge funds and investment banks,” and internationalists who worry about what would happen to the developing world if Americans suddenly quit spending their earnings on foreign goods.
Since they share an emotional tone and the goal of loose money that inspired the old Populism, but differ in their background, let us adopt “Wall Street Populism” as the proper term for the Punch Bowl Caucus. It is, after all, something of a Free Silver movement with gilted edges.
There are, of course, crucial differences. The old populist were openly egalitarian radicals while the Wall Street Populists are openly elitist radicals—concerned about the jobs and firms of people who have been in the financial industry for, as Cramer put it, “twenty-five years.” The old populists viewed Wall Street and the railroads as their enemy. The Wall Street Populists are, well, closely tied to Wall Street. The old populists spoke in the eloquent and evocative images built from the Christian tradition. The language of the Wall Street Populists is less burdened by syntax, tradition or allusion.
That the cause of looser money gone from those who wished to smash Plymouth Rock on the Grand Canyon to those who want to keep Wall Street afloat on free credit shows how different twenty-first century finance is from nineteenth century finance. You know that Wall Street long ago stepped through the looking glass when a hedge fund manager adopts the cause of William Jennings Bryan. We’d call it “unreal” except that it is all too real.
The Punch Bowl Caucus [Slate]

  • 16 Jul 2007 at 11:42 AM
  • Apple

Can I Touch It? The iPhone, Cliff Mason And Uncle Jumbo

jimcrameriphone.bmpIn the latest video from TheStreet.Com TV, James “Uncle Jumbo” Cramer defends his alleged nephew Cliff Mason’s review of the iPhone. Uncle Jumbo explains that all the talk of the phone being a “babe magnet” was really just Cliff’s way of explaining the buzz around the phone that is driving sales and Apple’s stock price.
We were trying to decide what we thought of this rationale so we went back to Cliff’s original video, in which he shows the phone to the fetching host of the program, Farnoosh Torabi. “Can I touch it?” she asks. And yes, of course Cliff lets Farnoosh touch it. Who wouldn’t?
Uhm, what were we talking about. Oh, right. The Cliff Mason-iPhone Incident. We think maybe Cliff was telling us about the buzz using some of the lingo of these crazy kids. But then again, maybe he just meant that it’s a babe magnet. After all, one of the first text messages we ever got from an iPhone read: “Chicks dig it.
The Cliff Mason-iPhone Incident made Page Six headlines on Sunday. “Mason, in a streaming-video feed, says he bought the gizmo because he ‘wasn’t doing anything at the time’ and had ‘money to burn,’” Page Six explains. “It was worth it because he was soon surrounded by curious women. Asked by thestreet.com’s Farnoosh Torabi about the required iPhone switch from Verizon to AT&T, Mason shrugged and said his dad paid the bills.”
[Editor's Note: we're extinguishing the comments option for this post because getting raked over the coals by both Bess Levin and Page Six in the course of just a couple of days is enough punishment for anyone. No need to pile it on any further.]

  • 13 Jul 2007 at 1:24 PM
  • Apple

The iPhone Is a Wingman, Not a Miracle Worker

iphone-praise.jpgCorrection: The purchase of an iPhone did not land Cliff Mason, Jim Cramer’s nephew, his first date. It just got the ladies on the street (dot com) to stand up and take notice when he whipped it out (are you picking up what we’re throwing down? Does anyone else think DealBreaker should close at noon on summer Fridays? For everyone’s sake?). Whipping out his iPhone was much more effective in getting the opposite sex to say “I’d like a piece of that young-looking James Cramer” than Cliff’s BlackBerry was (hint: don’t wear it in a holster, toots). For instance, in line at J.Crew:

Picture this: I’m just standing in line [at the J.Crew near my apartment], answering some email, when the fetching cashier who’s ringing me up begs to “see” my iPhone and then asks me half a dozen questions about how I like it.
As soon as she gets her hands on the thing, the cashier next to her catches sight of it and flashes me a look of what I can only describe as sheer ecstasy before asking if she, too, can take a look. When the two women on either side of me and the one in line behind me realized there was an iPhone owner in their midst, they reacted like I was one of the Beatles, circa 1964.

Like a Backstreet Boy circa 1996. Like a member of N’Sync circa 1997. But we digress. Now tell us about the waitress at BLT Burger:

I had a similar experience when I went to BLT Burger, which I cannot recommend too highly, and my waitress couldn’t take her eyes off of it. Sadly, my girlfriend was with me, so I couldn’t empirically test the full extent of the iPhone’s magnetic capabilities.

On another note, we’d like to offer Cliff an apology. Not because we called out the lack of disclosure about him being Cramer’s nephew, or for calling attention to his own admission of the fact that his father pays his Verizon bill, but because he will now apparently be forced to call Cramer ‘Uncle Jimbo,’ in the biblical sense. For the rest of you, take this as a warning: you disclose or you get the hose.
An iPhone: The Best $600 You’ll Ever Waste [thestreet.com]