Jim Cramer says Citigroup (C) is a "pound the table" purchase ahead of this week's expected Federal Reserve rate hike.
"I am pounding the table right here to buy Citi," Cramer said in this month's Q&A conference call with members of his Action Alerts PLUS club for investors. "You should buy Citi ahead of any rate hike -- and then buy some more if [the price] comes down."
The Fed's interest-rate committee has signaled that it's almost certain to boost the key Federal funds rate when the group wraps up a two-day meeting on Wednesday. Rising rates tend to benefit bank stocks by making lending more profitable.
Cramer said in his conference call that this week's expected hike should benefit large banks with big credit-card businesses, including Citi, Bank of America (BAC) , JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) . But he said that Citi is "the cheapest of all of them [because] it sells at 11 times earnings.
The stock-picker added that the bank also sells at a discount to book value -- around $61 a share vs. the stock's roughly $64 book value.
"Citi's really a terrific situation," Cramer said.
Want to join in on Jim's monthly conference calls? Click here for a free 14-day trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS and hear all of March's call, get e-mails beforeJim makes any trade and enjoy lots of other exclusive material.