The "miss factor" is playing out -- as in, "What if I miss it? What if I don't play? How far behind will I fall?"
It's only February, yet this is what I am hearing from money managers -- especially those who were skeptical last year and now tell me that they have to sell their stocks because of Portugal. They are urging me to get negative. They are trying to talk me into being scared.
They are the scared ones -- scared that the market won't come in. These managers are praying, silently of course, for a calamity that allows them to buy stocks at a lower price, and they aren't getting it. Each day that goes by makes it more impossible to take because they are falling behind so fast.
Plus, their shorts are nightmarish. Consider two prominent ones that seemed like money in the bank: Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) and Ralph Lauren (RL) . BWLD was supposed to be mortally wounded by chicken-wing prices. Didn't happen. Management stuck by the 20% growth figure. (CEO Sally Smith will be on "Mad Money" tonight.)
Ralph Lauren was supposed to go the way of Tiffany & Co. (TIF). Nope. It raised sales guidance to a phenomenal 20%. It's accelerating. Plus, the company has no problem passing on higher cotton costs, and in the second half, those costs will plummet. Higher sales plus better margins equals a short squeeze to die for.
You get these kinds of moves because people simply don't believe things can stay as good as they are. Or improve. They don't.
In short, in 2011 it paid to be as skeptical and as cynical as possible. In 2012? Let's just say the benefit of the doubt rules!
More from Jim Cramer: