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Cramer: Could These S&P Laggards Sprint Ahead?

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At the start of a new quarter one of the many strategies used by pros such as Jim Cramer involves looking at the worst stocks of the previous quarter.

Pros will try to identify if shares may have been oversold for some reason – in such circumstances a laggard may be worth buying as a bet the stock plays a game of catch-up.

And Jim Cramer sees just that kind of opportunity in the market right now.

"The stock that most intrigues me of the losers is Newfield Exploration," Cramer said, a company involved in the exploration of oil and natural gas.

Shares of the company declined about 16% during the past 3 months.

"Largely the decline was triggered by a horrendous guide-down pegged to the worth of properties," Cramer explained. "However, I think the decline has put Newfield in the bargain basement territory."

Here's why.


George Doyle | Stockbyte | Getty Images

"First it is showing a remarkable growth in liquids, via some terrific drilling in the Bakken, Cana Woodford play," Cramer explained. "Second it has hired Goldman Sachs to sell some prime acreage near China and Malaysia to focus on liquids growth in the United States. And third, there's no reason to think that one company can't come along and buy the whole thing if Goldman can attract a suitor."

In addition, Cramer thinks the dynamic in nat gas is starting to become incrementally more bullish.

"Natural gas has begun to move up because of a shortage in drilling and colder weather in the month of April," he said. That too, should benefit the company.

All told Cramer likes the risk versus the reward.

"Put simply, this decline is a huge opportunity and the ignominious write down is now behind the company. It's the biggest bargain in the first quarter and one worth taking," he said.

If you're looking for another stock that may also benefits from this kind of theme, Cramer suggested looking at Akamai, which lost about 14% over the past 3 months.

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"Although the streaming video company reported a surprising shortfall, the decline was later met with strong insider buying," Cramer said.

And according to Cramer's research, lately insider buying has been an important signal.

"I typically don't care if there is a smattering of buying but in this case, it seemed as if every exec and board member with any cash bought stock. That's proven to be an important tell six months later."

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

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