Jim Cramer saw some classic signs of a market bottom Thursday morning, but forced margin-selling came into play Thursday afternoon, wiping out chances for a bottom, he said on his "RealMoney" radio show .

"Too many people own too many hot stocks with margin debt," said Cramer. When that happens and stocks go down, borrowers must either send in more money to their brokers or the broker will sell the stock out from under them.

Most of the time, it's the latter that happens, he said. Forced margin selling usually begins around 2 o'clock, said Cramer, and sure enough, as the 2 o'clock hour approached, the market began to sell off.

Cramer said Thursday's action was reminiscent of what happened during the dramatic market declines of 2000, in the wake of the tech bubble. But, the difference this time, he said, is that most companies are real companies with real profits.

Thus, Cramer expects to begin seeing analysts upgrade beaten-down stocks. He also believes analysts whose estimates for oil are too low may start to raise their price targets. And, companies seeing their stock prices fall precipitously are more likely to start buying back stock.

For those who are on margin, though, said Cramer, "Get off margin right now. ... Margin is horrible."

In response to a question about Seagate Technology ( STX), Cramer said that the stock is a battleground and that there is a "lot of bad money in Seagate." It's "too hard," he said.

In response to a question about recent IPOs that are trading below their offering prices, Cramer said Avalon Pharmaceuticals ( AVRX) is "kind of interesting." Caribou Coffee ( CBOU) "doesn't have great earnings momentum," but if you buy it around $10 to $11, "you'll be OK," he said.

Cramer also mentioned Genomic Health ( GHDX) but said that "none of these jumps out at me as if you must own them," adding that "things are rough out there right now."

In his weekly "Stump Cramer" segment where listeners ask about obscure stocks, Cramer commented on ElkCorp ( ELK) saying that the stock had been en fuego post-Hurricane Katrina but that management is prone to getting it wrong.

The stock has become a nightmare, he said, and he would ring the register.

Commenting on Schlumberger ( SLB), Cramer said it was a stock he likes "very, very much."

Cramer was leery of Zoltek ( ZOLT ) because the company is not making money.

In response to a question about New York Times ( NYT), Cramer said he doesn't see anything that would cause NYT to stop going down. Earnings momentum is not there, he said, and he believes that the newspaper business is in a secular downturn.

Furthermore, Cramer is not a fan of New York Times' acquisition of About.com. But, the stock is not expensive, he said, and he knows people who like newspaper stocks very much at these prices.

Finally, Cramer said the market is struggling with problems of inflation, rising interest rates and forced margin-selling. He is bullish on tech and oil, and he said oil was up too much last week but is down too much now.

Cramer would be making small bids for stocks with a lot of value that he wants to own for years to come. But he would not make any big bets before he sees signs the market has bottomed.
James J. Cramer is a director and co-founder of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for Action Alerts PLUS. While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to send comments on his column by clicking here. Listen to Cramer's RealMoney Radio show on your computer; just click here. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" at 6 p.m. ET weeknights on CNBC. Click here to order Cramer's latest book, "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click here to get his second book, "You Got Screwed!" and click here to order Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict."