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10 Lessons Learned from Nike

If you want to pick a winner like Nike, you have to do your homework, “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer said.

Nike shares jumped almost three percent Wednesday after the world’s largest shoe and clothing company reported earnings after the bell Tuesday that beat Wall Street’s estimates.

Cramer said he saw this coming because he did his research. So he used the Nike example to compile a checklist of what homegamers should analyze when they do their homework on any given company.

1. There must be demand for the company’s products. Nike’s been creating demand for decades, thanks to the “cool factor” supported by sharp advertising and clothing that looks good, feels comfortable and lets everyone know you’re an athlete.

2. The company’s total addressable market. In other words, how big the market is for its products. Nike’s TAM comes to $75 billion. Cramer also likes to know where it sits in the pecking order. Nike is the dominant player in footwear and number two in apparel.

3. Are there any catalysts that can power the stock higher? Nike has several, including the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the basketball season, which is finally about to get underway after the lockout.

4. Other ways to look into the future. Nike has a company-specific key metric called future orders, based on its system for allowing customers to order merchandise six months in advance.

5. The company’s ability to pass costs onto the customers. Nike made it clear in the conference call that it had no trouble passing on raw costs through price increases, Cramer said.

6. It’s important to understand the geographic breakdown of the business. Nike’s fastest growing geographies are emerging markets, which is up 26 percent year-over-year. China is up 28 percent and the U.S. is up 21 percent. Western Europe and Japan are still challenging environments, but they’re offset by the strength elsewhere.

7. Wall Street loves accelerating revenue growth. Nike has this across multiple product categories in both developed and developing markets.

8. Inventory. When companies with retail components have too much inventory, it can be a problem since they’ll have to discount the older products before bringing in a new product. Nike’s unit inventory growth outpaced its sales growth, but since absolute unit levels have "plateaued," Cramer is not concerned.

9. Good companies are always reinventing themselves and their products. Nike is doing this, Cramer said, with new technology in its shoes and marketing.

10. Company culture. Nike is a “take no prisoners” company and is focused on improving the way they work.

“That’s how we knew Nike would be a great buy ahead of the quarter,” Cramer said, “and it’s why I still think this is a terrific stock to own.”

(Related: Nike Poised for Upward 2012 Swoosh, Pros Say)

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