Focus is at a premium, Jim Cramer said Monday on his "RealMoney" radio show .

Citigroup's ( C) 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 (CBH).
  • In credit cards: CapitalOne (COF).
  • In mutual funds: Legg Mason (LM).
  • In commercial lending: CIT Group (CIT)
  • 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 ( TROW) 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 Phelps Dodge ( 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 UnitedHealth Group ( UNH), which he also called cheaper.

    On the topic of expensive stocks, Cramer says that medical device maker Medtronics ( MDT) 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 Google ( GOOG) 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."


    Want more Cramer? Check out Jim's rules and commandments for investing from his latest book by clicking here. Learn how to become a better investor. Get started now with the investing rules that Cramer lays out:

    1. Pigs Get Slaughtered 2. It's OK to Pay the Taxes
    3. Don't Buy All at Once 4. Buy Damaged Stocks
    5. Diversify to Control Risk 6. Do Your Homework
    7. Don't Panic 8. Buy Best-of-Breed
    9. Defend Some Stocks 10. Don't Bet on Bad Stocks
    11. Own Fewer Names 12. Cash Is for Winners
    13. No Regrets 14. Expect Corrections
    15. Know Bonds 16. Don't Subsidize Losers
    17. No Room for Hope 18. Be Flexible
    19. Quit When Execs Do 20. Patience Is a Virtue
    21. Be a TV Critic 22. When to Wait 30 Days
    23. Beware the Hype 24. Explain Your Picks
    25. Find the Bull Market
    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 Action Alerts PLUS. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by clicking here. Listen to Cramer's RealMoney Radio show on your computer; just click here. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" at 6 p.m. ET weeknights on CNBC. Click here to order Cramer's latest book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict."

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