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— TV's frenetic Jim Cramer, cofounder of TheStreet.com and one who enjoys being labeled the "Mad Man of Wall Street," likes Accredited stock. Cramer believes that concerns about sub-prime lending are overblown and notes that Accredited is seeing an increase in mortgage applications. "They'll have a tough time for many months," says Cramer, but "they have a good [business] model."

However, the view that the housing downturn is ending requires a large pair of rose-colored glasses. As an investment, Accredited scores lower than 76 percent of stocks that rating agency Standard & Poor's follows. "I would be very cautious jumping into the sub-prime lenders until we see the extent of the shakeout," says Bud Leedom, publisher of CaliforniaStocks.com. "There is fear of what is in these underlying portfolios. A lot of investors feel that sub-prime lenders will be going out of business. The ticking-time-bomb scenario is alive and well."

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