Jim Cramer is very well known to anybody in the financial domain as a former hedge fund manager, but also a hothead on CNBC television hosting a daily show called Mad Money, where he praises and pans every stock on the book. He knows, and the audience should know that his show is purely for entertainment value (Cramer is really an excellent host that seems to never run out of his child-like adrenaline surges), but a whole bunch of amateurs take him seriously.
It used to be when his show came to the air that whenever he made recommendations that the stocks would go up, significantly, in after-market trading, only to recede to their previous levels a couple days later. Traders would usually target this phenomenon and try to capture the demand by short selling and taking profits later.
If anything, it was a very fascinating exercise of how sharks try to eat fish, akin to a poker game – that type of stock trading was definitely zero-sum, and Cramer had the ability to attract a lot of amateurs that were also trying to make the fast dollar off of each other. It was undeniable that in the first few months of the show, Cramer had the ability to move stocks and somebody was probably able to consistently take advantage of it (e.g. being associated with somebody directing or producing the show, for example).
So it was with interest when a fellow named Controlled Greed, who has 5,514 subscribers according to Google Reader, on May 22 mentioned that he took a position in the previous week some illiquid smallcap company (XETA). It has a market capitalization of 39 million and an average volume of 6,700 shares or roughly $25,000 traded a day.
Most notably, on no news, the stock opened up Monday about 5% on 1900 shares. So his article did attract a few market buyers, which I found to be fascinating.
My econophysical studies of situations like these suggest that “immediate popularizations” of stocks has an impulse function effect on the share value, but the value of the impulse declines substantively as the value of the popularization exponentially decays, and eventually reaches a null point (where it is indistinguishable from background noise) a few days later (the decay rate being variable). But you have to wonder how many of those 5,500 readers now stick XETA on the watchlist, waiting for some sort of substantive news. I will not. One of my rules is that by the time you read about any obscure stock pick on any popular medium, it’s already too late.