NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The financial sector has been an important leader in the 2013 rally. But the sector has been underperforming recently, so is it time to buy the dip or take a pass? TheStreet's Jim Cramer told Debra Borchardt why he's choosing the latter.

Many of the banks have had great runs this year. But now, with low trading volumes and a sagging housing market, operations aren't going to get any easier heading into the fourth quarter.

Cramer said JPMorgan Chase's ( JPM) legal woes is partly responsible for keeping other bank stocks from rallying. JPM is a holding in Cramer's charitable portfolio, Action Alerts PLUS.

He added that the housing market hasn't been as robust, leading to a lot of layoffs in the mortgage departments of big banks. Even though bond issues and the IPO market have been doing well, Cramer doubts it's been enough to offset the slumping mortgage business.

Because the group is neither cheap enough to buy or expensive enough to sell, it's stuck in "definitive no man's land," he concluded, adding that he is not a buyer at these levels.

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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