Options Trading News

April 9, 2012  Mon 8:56 AM CT

Could it be bleaker? Yes.

We are acting as if down 1.5 percent on an employment number is the end of the world. We are acting as if there is now a crash happening in everything from oil to gold to copper to, of course, stocks.
We are being fools.

I'm not arguing we should rally on this number from Friday. I am simply saying that to reconfigure your entire world view on one number is to reject 2012 and focus on trading baskets, a strategy that has stopped working.

This morning I heard it straight: risk-off day. That intellectual sloppiness has its basis in the
inability of commentators to discern among what companies do coupled with the inability of large hedge funds to do anything but buy and sell futures because so many are running so much money they can't do much else.

Plus, it allows for unlimited and somewhat worthless pontification about the Fed, which the pundits feel is all that matters because the whole rally has been liquidity-driven, meaning that stocks have gone up because of easy money.

TheStreet.com logoIf that were only true then you could actually go on autopilot and say "Down day, sell stocks because they are risky" or "Up day, buy stocks because they are safe." That's yesteryear.

I know I am a heretic to write this stuff. But let’s think about it. How many times would you have sold Starbucks or Chipotle or Apple or Yum with this illogic? How many times would you have bailed from great growth stocks like Celgene and Allergan and Biogen. They weren't risk on, risk off. They were INVESTMENTS.

Plus, let's be realistic. Let's say the false dichotomy of risk on, risk off were an actual dichotomy. What do you do? Sell stocks when the futures are down a percent? Buy them up a percent? Did you ever wonder why you always hear about hedge funds underperforming?

Did you ever think the two might be related?

As someone who has seen and studied all kinds of markets, believe me if I thought there was a new nomenclature worth your time I would embrace it. But I know lazy thinking when I see it and hear it.

I had suggested that if you wanted to look at the industrial and oil complex you could look to China for clues. You can consider the housing market uniquely American and pick stocks based on a comeback there, which, by the way, is a dented thesis after Friday's number.

But the most important takeaway is for the risk on, risk off propagators to go do some homework so they know how stocks interact with the economy and how they don't. That way they can stop trying to divine the Fed's intentions, which is a losers game if you are trying to distinguish between--are you ready for this quaint depiction?--good stocks and bad stocks.
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust is long AAPL.
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