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Cramer: Will value buyers embrace or shun Apple?

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

With Apple trading at 12 times earnings and the rest of the market averaging 17 times earnings, is Apple a value stock?

The idea seems to be capturing the imagination of Wall Street pros as well as top Piper Jaffrey analyst Gene Munster.

Although the valuation has been cited as a reason to buy Apple for quite a while, with a rotation currently underway into value stocks, Apple bulls think the timing may be prescient, right now.

In other words, "Munster thinks that since Wall Street is bidding other value stocks higher, why shouldn't it bid Apple higher, too," Jim Cramer explained.

Bulls also say that Apple has great earnings momentum, as well as fantastic balance sheet and fiercely loyal customers.

If that isn't value, they say, what is?

Balint Porneczi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Although Cramer concedes that there are catalysts that could take Apple higher, he doesn't think the thesis that it's a value stock is one of them.

The problem, Cramer says, is that investors who are seeking value in the market are seeking companies that stand to benefit significantly as the economy gets better.

"It's not clear to me how much a stronger economy will really help Apple sales," Cramer said. "I just don't see an explosion in earnings if the economy gets a lot better.

Value investors are buying "companies that have cut back staff or reorganized or become lean enough that any uptick in sales will produce tremendous earnings leverage," Cramer added.

That's just not Apple.

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That doesn't mean Apple can't rally, it can. Cramer firmly believes an exciting new product could ignite enthusiasm as could the growing use of iPhones throughout the emerging world.

But short of those developments, Cramer thinks Apple shares will probably remain between a rock and a hard place.

"As far as I can tell this stock is in limbo," Cramer said. And without a fundamental catalyst that can move the needle, that's where Apple will probably stay.

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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