Common Mistake That’s Causing Spectacular Losses

If your portfolio is awash in red marks and minus signs, perhaps you're making this mistake.

Perhaps you bet against the American consumer.

Nobody would blame you, least of all Jim Cramer.

Conventional wisdom suggested retailers would be seriously challenged. After all, shoppers were facing a litany of woes ranging from higher payroll taxes, higher prices at the pump and squabbling in Washington that threatened job creation.

"As a result pros put on short after short to profit from what they thought was a certain decline. They shorted the Retail ETFs. They shorted the department stores. They shorted the discounters and the dollar stores. And they shorted the big housing derivative retailers," Cramer explained.

Many investors thought it would be impossible for retailers to duck these profoundly damaging concerns.

But duck them, they did.

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"Wal-Mart started things off with a much better than expected quarterly report and while some tried to seize on the outlook, which was muted, the stock went higher and then has refused to come in," Cramer said.

"Then we got Home Depot and Macy's, two disparate but powerful nationwide retailers that both reported amazing earnings," Cramer added.

And the trend doesn't end there. "Today it's the dollar stores. Dollar Tree reported a beautiful number.

Also, the restaurants didn't comply with the negative thesis either.

"DineEquity, Cracker Barrel, Jack in the Box and Darden all either reported a terrific story or said things are getting better," Cramer mused.

All told, the results left investors who bet against the American consumer licking their wounds.

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Time and again the resiliency of American spending has confounded even the most seasoned pro. In fact, if you're looking to establish a new position, Cramer thinks the play may be a bet on accelerating consumer spending – not a decline.

"That was certainly the takeaway from Home Depot," he said.

As they say on Wall Street price is truth and the truth is consumers have been spending? "Makes me think it's time to circle back and buy both Michael Kors and Whole Foods, two recently dinged stocks that I think could now make a comeback," Cramer concluded.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

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