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Cramer: Learn to Recognize a Stock Bargain

NEW YORK ( Real Money) --When you get the price breaks, do you take them? When you see a sale, do you run to the stock mall, or do you run away from it?

I think most people don't take the breaks because they don't know how to spot a bargain. That's because it's not always obvious. It's not like the fight I got in at a Vanity Fair factory outlet in Reading, Pa., years ago over a pair of Lee jeans that had been marked down to $7 from $26. No one is pulling one pant leg while you are pulling the other.

Oh, of course, I got the pants -- the other guy didn't pull hard enough.

No, it's much more subjective, much more homework-oriented, but certainly doable, particularly around earnings announcements, provided you have a clear head and know what you need to read in the press release and hear in the conference call.

Let's take the three sales that the market put on last night and this morning: the discounts on the stocks of Red Hat (RHT - Get Report), PVH (PVH - Get Report) and Five Below (FIVE - Get Report). Each has its own reason for a markdown, and not all are worth buying because there could be more sales and more markdowns ahead. Just remember that those pants I stole at Vanity Fair for $7 didn't go in a straight line down from $26 -- there were many sale stops in between.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Real Money on March 28. To see Jim Cramer's latest commentary as it's published, sign up for a free trial of Real Money.

First, when Red Hat reported, the headlines were dismal: a big guide-down, lots of worries about slowing sales, the endless chatter about a weak government vertical, meaning that Red Hat didn't sell enough service contracts to slimming-down governments worldwide. To me, though, Red Hat is part of a secular wave to save money by going to an open-sourced system, the cloud, and when I got on the conference call, the worries that took the stock down 10% seemed way overdone.

That was a huge opportunity, but you had to buy from the panickers, and that's never easy. Plus I don't like after-hours trading. Still, it was there for the taking for anyone who had an understanding of Red Hat and of Jim Whitehurst, the mild-mannered CEO who has been on the show numerous times and who told you not to worry, it was all good. And it was.

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