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Cramer: 2 dangerous stocks into year's end

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Jim Cramer said two Dow stocks are to be avoided at all costs until the end of the year.

They are IBM and Caterpillar, the only two components of the Dow 30 that look as if they may end the year in negative territory.

"This is tax-loss season, where investors sell their losers in order to offset the gains they've made in their winners for tax purposes," Cramer explained. "Therefore, at a moment when so few stocks are actually down, the tax-loss selling in IBM and CAT could be particularly brutal."

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Although sometimes it can be strategic to buy laggards at the start of a new year, Cramer isn't so sure either of these stocks will qualify as strategic buys, anytime soon. Both appear to face serious problems.

"IBM is being challenged by the cloud," explained the "Mad Money" host. "And increasingly, IBM is viewed as being irrelevant and not offering companies anything close to a bargain."

Meanwhile, Cramer said weakness in Caterpillar is largely due to management woes. "Competitors are doing quite well," he noted.

Therefore, "I don't think the stock turns until CEO Doug Olberhelman departs the company. However, the board seems totally brain dead so don't expect a change any time soon."

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No other Dow stocks are currently in the red, however with a year to date gain of only 4%, AT&T is the third worst performer. And Cramer isn't looking for any holiday magic

"This year has been a real disappointment," Cramer said. " I think the endless stock buybacks and slow dividend boosts are not producing the kind of returns we've come to expect from this great American company. AT&T needs to do an acquisition."

"Now, the 5% yield is going to keep a lot of people from selling this stock, but if you want yield, there are plenty of better places to put your money."

Looking at Exxon Mobil, another Dow laggard, Cramer had very different insights.

"It's actually a buy," Cramer said. With Berkshire Hathaway taking a major stake in Exxon, it's got the Warren Buffett seal of approval.

Buffett's position has called attention to fundamentals, which seem to be improving rapidly. "For years, Exxon seemed to lag in its exploration and production, but this last quarter was uniquely good."

Also, "Exxon has been shrinking its share count pretty relentlessly, going from 4.89 billion shares at the end of 2010 to 4.39 billion right now. That's a real buyback."

All told Cramer thinks Exxon could be a huge stock for 2014. "I'd buy it aggressively into any pullback."

Looking at the 5th worst stock in the Dow, shares of Cisco have gained about 7% year to date. Cramer, however, remains very cautious.

"I think Cisco is getting its butt kicked by pretty much everyone lately. I spoke to Palo Alto Networks the other day and the cyber security company is simply carving Cisco up like a turkey on its security offerings. And on the networking equipment side, I believe that Ciena's winning the war here, as is Juniper."

Although Cramer has great respect for CEO John Chambers he thinks the former bellwether needs to consider new blood "to invigorate the company and bring it back into the fold of real growth technology plays."

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

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Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
IBM
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CAT
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T
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XOM
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CSCO
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JNPR
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CIEN
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