Jim Cramer's 10 Lucrative Themes for 2013

Tickers in this article: AAPL AIG CAT GS WFC
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in three parts on Real Money on Jan. 7. To see Jim Cramer's latest commentary as it's published, sign up for a free trial of Real Money .


NEW YORK ( Real Money ) -- Every year we see some themes that seem to transcend everything out there. These themes are like rising tides: They seem to take up all boats in the water, even ones that aren't nearly as sturdy as boats stuck in still waters or tides that are ebbing.

Last year was a bountiful year, with the S&P 500 up 16%, including reinvested dividends. Yet it would have almost seemed like a down year if you'd listened to the chatter, or read the papers, or did anything that amounted to a superficial following of the market.

In short, it seemed market commentators, pundits and hedge-fund managers decided to leave their senses and focus only on Washington. This became the controlling issue in the discourse. It seemed like the main event. But in reality -- meaning actual stock performance -- it was a sideshow. The prevailing themes, the ones that stand out, are quite obvious from looking at the charts, and they've totally trumped any stress from the Capitol.

That brings me to a thought regarding the next Washington crisis. We are totally right to stay focused on these various crises -- but only because, in a tactical sense, they create buying opportunities. As I look through the charts for 2012, I am amazed at how many opportunities appeared not from the companies themselves, but from Washington's shenanigans and election worries. In fact, I think 2012 will turn out to be the year when we began to see a pattern: You buy on Washington-inspired dips and you trim when it looks like Washington has its act together, which we know it doesn't.

It's pretty simple: What's good for business is anything but Washington, with the exception of the much-scorned Fed chief Ben Bernanke, who is still providing rocket fuel for some of these trends. What's bad for stocks is anyone inside the Beltway -- Republican, Democrat, doesn't matter.

But here's the key thing: As someone who is in the media, I can tell you that it's really easy to default to talking about Washington, and many of us like to do so. Why? Some think it is exciting. (I don't.) Others know the secret truth: It is easy because it requires very little homework. Anyone can have a view. You can pretty much state your opinion, and somehow that counts as valuable -- which is terrific, because you don't have to stress or read or give it a lot of thought. It's like a college bull session out there, for heaven's sake.

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