Know When to Sell 'Em and When to Hold 'Em

On Mad Money we pander to neither panic nor euphoria. On Tuesday, an up day, Jim urged everyone to get out of the financials. I can't emphasize how important it is that we go negative on up days, but history can. The 234 point rout yesterday afternoon is a pure example of what I'm talking about. We try not to be too down on down days, and emphasize extreme caution on up days because that's useful.

What use would it have been if we waited until yesterday, after that huge sell-off, to tell you about our fear of the financials? It's practically become a rule: when the market's up we talk about selling, you'd be amazed at how many times Jim actually says people should sell stocks, given the fact that Mad Money is so often characterized as a show about buying, and Jim is so often called a tout.

We have been negative for God only knows how long on the housing stocks, the autos -- General Motors and Ford, two stocks where, as Jim has pointed out, the debt-holders, the bond bullies are now in control -- not a good thing if you're a shareholder, the airlines and the financials -- we've gotten the emails from people who are scared, we feel the angst.

I just hope you took advantage of the strength we had before the big decline yesterday to sell, like Jim advised.

Similarly, last Wednesday, Jim said people would take a pounding if they were in oil and natural gas -- a short-term pounding, and that's what happened. Good for him, but only good for you if you actually listened to his advice about selling the oil and gas stocks, advice many people who write about the show seem to think is nonexistent.

Just for the record, lately it feels like we've been devoting a lot more of the show to selling, and doing it in a useful way -- telling you to sell when we get a good day and stocks are up -- rather than wringing our hands after big declines and saying it in hindsight...

Cliff Mason is the Senior Writer of CNBC's Mad Money w/Jim Cramer, and has been that program's primary writer, in cooperation with and under the supervision of Jim Cramer, since he began at CNBC as an intern during the summer of 2005. Mason was the author of a column at during 2007, which he describes as "hilarious, if short-lived." He graduated from Harvard College in 2007. It was at Harvard that Mason learned to multi-task, mastering the art of seeming to pay attention to professors while writing scripts for Mad Money. Mason has co-written two books with Jim Cramer: Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich and Stay Mad For Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer). He is 100% responsible for any parts of either book that you did not like.

Mason has also had a fruitful relationship with Jim Cramer as his nephew for the last 23 years and will hopefully continue to hold that position for many more as long as he doesn't do anything to get himself kicked out of the family.

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