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Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap: Digging Deeper (Final)

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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- "I'm tossing out the red flag," Jim Cramer told his "Mad Money" TV show viewers on Wednesday.

He said that too many investors aren't doing their homework and are relying on the headlines alone, and that's why the markets have been so wrong about so many corporate earnings this quarter.

Cramer said the markets are still dominated by news from Europe, but that doesn't exempt investors from doing the homework, listening to conference calls and finding out what's really going on with a company's earnings. Skip this said, he said, and you're sure to lose money.

Consider Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), which reported $1.24 per share in earnings versus estimates of $1.21. A solid beat, right? Cramer said absolutely not. Turns out Johnson & Johnson only gained from one-time charges and divestitures. Earnings were pitiful. Cramer continues to like private label drug maker Perrigo (PRGO).

A similar story with Travelers (TRV), which reported only 79 cents a share when the markets were looking for 83 cents. Did the stock plummet lower? Not at all. Cramer said earnings were light, but in the conference call the company revealed that it's writing new policies like crazy and pushed through a price increase, two things that will benefit the company for years to come.

Then there's Coca-Cola (KO), a stock which Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS . Coke seemingly disappointed with its earnings, but the company is seeing North American sales picking up and Coke Zero is growing like a weed.

Cramer said this is a most confusing earnings season and investors must remain disciplined and informed. Headlines alone are not enough. Skip the homework, he said, and you'll miss how this might be the last bad quarter for Goldman Sachs (GS), which would make now a great time to start a position.
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