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Washington Finds a New Villain

Someone must know something – “maybe something big,” Cramer said Tuesday – about the health-care bill presently working its way through the Senate. The stock charts of some of the biggest health maintenance organizations have broken down over the past couple of weeks, and that’s usually a sign that someone’s got the inside scoop.

Unitedhealth Group , WellPoint and Humana now have “some of the worst charts out there,” Cramer said. (Watch the video to see Cramer analyze these charts.)After trending higher, they’ve all pulled back. More than that, they’ve either sold off or look ready to. Cramer had recommended WellPoint because he thought the company was in a better position to withstand President Obama’s intended reforms, but even this stock took a hit.

So what’s going on? Could these stocks make a comeback? Or had something happened that would force Cramer to change his outlook? He dug deep and did the research, and brought back answers for those watching at home.

First, Washington, and not Wall Street, caused the moves in these stocks. Because the analysts are still “largely positive” on the group. That means the catalyst came from inside the Beltway.

Cramer said the more likely reason was that hedge funds predicted a week of “very painful headlines” and decided to abandon ship. He called these HMOs “the hedge-fund trade over the last few months,” and as they dumped their holdings share prices plummeted. Also, a number of investors might have cashed out when “Obamacare” held out longer than expected, rather than being “dead on arrival.”

Another possibility is that Senator Max Baucus, Montana Democrat and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced a plan that “has a lot of negatives for these companies,” Cramer said. Plus, it seems like HMOs are becoming the new Wall Street bankers, meaning they’re the White House’s villains of choice for the moment. Investors shouldn’t buy a group that both the president and the public have in their crosshairs.

“The charts are saying you can’t own the HMOs,” Cramer said. “Based on the facts that I’m seeing, I’m going with the chartists. I’m telling you to skedaddle from this group.”

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