Back to the Badlands!

Remember when I wrote that piece about how the

Badlands -- the after-hours markets -- are a dangerous place where people can be fleeced of their horse, their guns and their clothes?

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Well, they are. Individuals who are trading in after-hours markets are almost daily being taken out to the O.K. Corral and getting shot.

Last night we saw a true self-fleecing:

Nortel

(NT)

reported dynamite

numbers. But anybody who trades Nortel professionally knows that Nortel reports first in Canadian numbers, which were super-huge.

Once they got translated into U.S. dollars they were still huge, but not so super. In the meantime, while we waited for the translation, lots of individuals got faked out by the much stronger Canadian number. They paid too much vs. what people would pay for U.S. numbers. Three dollars too much.

When you trade after hours you have to remember

not

to trade on the first number. Sometimes it is wrong. (

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, for instance.) Sometimes it is in the wrong currency. (Nortel.) Wait until the conference call, or at a minimum wait until the text gets released.

Sometimes you can shoot too fast in the Badlands.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Intel. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.