Focus is at a premium, Jim Cramer said Monday on his
"RealMoney" radio show.
earnings "stunk up the joint," Cramer said, because the company has too many moving parts that prevent it from achieving reliable growth. Cramer believes the so-called "financial services supermarket" model, once considered the way to go, is now to be avoided.
"Fees can't be hidden. Regulators are all over firms. Journalists are wise to the game," said Cramer.
Instead of owning an unwieldy amalgamation like Citigroup, said Cramer, the better move is to buy the "best of breed" companies in each of the arenas in which Citibank competes.
Breaking it down, that means buying:
In retail banking: Commerce Bancorp .
In credit cards: CapitalOne .
In mutual funds: Legg Mason .
In commercial lending: CIT Group
In brokerage: Bear Stearns ( BSC) or Lehman ( LEH).
But don't jump in just yet. Based on what he heard -- or, more appropriately, didn't hear -- on the Citigroup conference call, Cramer said you can get a better entry price into some of these names by waiting a little while.
"The earnings call was tough to understand and the analysts may have problems understanding what the company is," said Cramer. "Sandy Weill may have understood it, but the folks he left behind obviously do not."
The result is that Citigroup may catch a few downgrades. That means investors can start picking up some of these best-of-breed financial names if they sell off on Citigroup's pain.
One caller asked if, aside from Legg Mason,
T. Rowe Price
was also a good asset manager to own. Cramer was very positive on T. Rowe Price, saying the company avoided the taint of scandal during the mutual fund trading probe.
Another caller asked when copper stocks like
( PD) would roll over, following the lead of steel-producer shares.
Cramer said Phelps is still cheap with one more huge quarter on the way and a possible dividend boost. After that, Cramer says, the amount of refined copper in the market will drive down prices.
On the other hand, Cramer called
American Pharmaceutical Partners
( APPX) expensive at 30 times earnings. He said he had more confidence in
, which he also called cheaper.
On the topic of expensive stocks, Cramer says that medical device maker
is trading a bit rich. He likes the company and its "strong integrity," but suggested picking it up if it drops below $50.
Finally, one caller wanted to know if he should buy
ahead of its earnings announcement this week.
In a display of Solomonic wisdom, Cramer told the caller to split the difference and buy some before and some after.
"Humans are too fallible to call a particular stock at a particular time," said Cramer. "Splitting up your purchase is a win-win scenario."
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At the time of publication, Cramer was long UnitedHealth and Commerce Bancorp.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for
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