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Cramer Quick Take: I'm Nervous About Banks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Earnings season began with Alcoa (AA) on Monday but the most important reports will come Friday, TheStreet's Jim Cramer told Debra Borchardt.

Before the bell, JPMorgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) will report earnings. While many are optimistic, Cramer says he's nervous, and not just because both banks are holdings in his charitable trust, Action Alerts Plus.

Along with strategic downgrades coming over the last couple of weeks, the financials are up about 20% going into earnings. Because of the substantial position in the Action Alerts Plus portfolio, Cramer said, "I can't tell you that I expect the number that people want."

While investors might point out that interest rates are rising, the effect has likely not been felt by the banks, at least in a significant manner, he pointed out. Rising rates increase the banks' net interest margins and effectively their profit. But it's still too early for them to make an impact, according to Cramer.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently indicated the Fed would remain supportive, but housing affordability has suddenly dropped due to higher mortgage rates.

Cramer's also curious to hear about the regulatory side of things. Some parts of the government want banks to lend more, while other parts want them to raise money. It's not really possible to efficiently do both, so clarification is going to be sought during the conference calls.

But over the longer term, these firms should start to do better, especially when net interest margins begin to rise, prompting Cramer to ask: Why buy ahead of the event?

The pullbacks have been the best opportunities in these names and he concluded that after the report, these stocks will likely be better portfolio candidates.

-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.

Bret Kenwell currently writes, blogs and also contributes to Robert Weinstein's Weekly Options Newsletter. Focuses on short-to-intermediate-term trading opportunities that can be exposed via options. He prefers to use debit trades on momentum setups and credit trades on support/resistance setups. He also focuses on building long-term wealth by searching for consistent, quality dividend paying companies and long-term growth companies. He considers himself the surfer, not the wave, in relation to the market and himself. He has no allegiance to either the bull side or the bear side.

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