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Jim Cramer: From Pariahs to Darlings

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Real Money on Dec. 18. To see Jim Cramer's latest commentary as it's published, sign up for a free trial of Real Money.

Performance envy?

After a day like yesterday, plenty of people are way out of position versus the averages and frantically grabbing anything that moves. One look at Citigroup (C) and Bank of America (BAC) tells you that. They have gone from being pariahs to being darlings. They are both well behind the group, and even though Bank of America is up hugely this year, almost double, it remains deeply depressed versus its old levels.

I point these two out because if you decided that you wanted to be long the financials, you can buy a million shares of either right on the line.

To review, Citigroup had just had a terrific quarter when they canned Vikram Pandit. I have been back and forth with a half-dozen very in-the-know people in the last five days and they simply didn't see it coming. The combination of a return to worldwide growth and the heavy-handed cuts that were made both domestic and international should make for an even better quarter and I have to believe that what is still stuck in Citi Holdings has really come back.

Bank of America is all about loss-stemming and how much money would be available if it simply didn't have to worry about any more lawsuits. You put an end to those and you will see this stock trade higher still.

The same goes for homebuilders. We got research last week that talked about how the homebuilders would be the hardest hit stocks when we go over the fiscal cliff. So, once again, even though the comparisons should be very good next year and the group's coming out of recession with a vengeance, the shorts came back and the longs fled.

Now they are rebuilding positions.

In every case I would tell you there is a better day to buy, but unless we get a definitive breakdown in fiscal-cliff talks, you have to believe that these stocks will be the ones that people come back to if they are worried about underperforming their peers.
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