Cramer: As ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Looms, Apple Is a Sell

People are talking a lot about the "fiscal cliff" lately.

'Fiscal Cliff' Deal Won’t Help US Rating: Egan-Jones
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It refers to a series of enacted legislation, which, if unchanged, will result in tax increases and spending cuts come January 1. The tax rate on capital gains, for example, could very well increase.

(Read More: What Is the 'Fiscal Cliff?')

In a surprise move Wednesday, Cramer included Apple in his list of stocks to sell ahead of the "fiscal cliff." He further explained that call on Thursday's "Mad Money."

The "Mad Money" host said "it makes too much sense to sell [some stocks] simply because tax rates do matter a great deal when you own stocks in taxable accounts." An investor might make more money by taking profits on a select stock now, he said, versus after January 1 when the "fiscal cliff" might set in and capital gains taxes go up.

(Read More: S&P: 15 Percent Chance US Goes Off 'Fiscal Cliff'.)

"I don't want people to be greedy here," Cramer said, noting Apple traded at around $50 a share when he first started recommending it, so anyone who sells at current levels won't lose out on the 490 points the stock has since gained. "You're also being greedy as all get out if you don't take something off the table, at least your basis in the stock if not more."

In addition to the threat of an increased tax on capital gains, Cramer said Apple seems to lack any near-term catalyst to take its stock higher.

(Related: Beginning of an Apple Bull Market: Bibb.)

"Without something compelling to drive Apple's share price back higher quickly, you are stuck trying to figure out where it's worth betting that the stock can trade back to $700 and you can make an additional $150," Cramer explained. "Or whether it pays to take profits now and pay the low 15 percent rate on the $490 in profit you could put in your pocket at this very moment."

Cramer: As ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Looms, Apple Is a Sell
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It's possible the "fiscal cliff" is resolved with limited increases to capital gains, Cramer said. At the same time, Apple's stock could soon fall to a level that's cheap on both a dividend and price-to-earnings multiple basis. In that scenario, Cramer said an investor might consider holding onto Apple on hopes it might release a game-changing product, but he called that a "tall order."

(Read More: Apple and the 'Fiscal Cliff')

In the end, though, Cramer said it all comes down to what action, if any, Congress takes on the "fiscal cliff."

"You want to hold on to your Apple? Write your Congressperson," Cramer said. "She's in charge right now, not Apple, and last I looked I would rather pay Uncle Sam one dollar today than two dollars tomorrow."

When this story was published, Cramer's charitable trust owned Apple.

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