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Big Banks Deserved Downgrades, Says Cramer

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Lindsey Bell interviews Jim Cramer regarding the downgrades of international banks. A full transcript appears below:

Lindsey Bell:
Citi, Goldman, Morgan Stanley were all downgraded to neutral from buy at UBS. Now these stocks have run 30 to over 50 percent each since the June low. So was this the right call?

Jim Cramer:
Yes. I think that the international banks are challenged on multiple levels and are in the crosshairs of the government.

Lindsey Bell:
Okay.

Jim Cramer:
I think that, as much as I like Citi, 60 percent of it's business overseas in the emerging markets and they're not coming back as quickly as I thought. Goldman and Morgan Stanley, the profits...the return on investment...just aren't as great as they used to be. The book value is in excess of their stocks and people are attracted to that. We like the regionals. I like Wells Fargo. It's been stalled...33/34...34/35. They own 30 percent of the mortgage market. They could even take more. I like Key because Key's back from the dead. The regionals are linked to housing.

Everyone says, well Jim, you talk about housing forever. Remember we have 1.7 million housing starts. As housing comes back...and we know from the existing home sales that we got yesterday, it's coming back...that just makes the regionals more attractive. I want to levered to housing and autos, not to international. The call's right.

Lindsey Bell:
Shouldn't quantitative easing, though, help these international banks as well?

Jim Cramer:
Yeah but you know, earnings power.

Lindsey Bell:
Is that priced in?

Jim Cramer:
Earnings power is not as there as it used to be and I care about earnings power.

Lindsey Bell:
Okay.

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