Cramer: As September looms, 3 stocks to watch

As you pack away your beach chair and umbrella and prepare for the crisp days of autumn, chances are you're going to hear that the market is moving into a time of year that's been difficult for bulls, historically.

According to the Stock Traders Almanac, since 1950, September is the worst performing month of the year for Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500, NASDAQ (since 1971) and Russell 1000 (since 1979).

However, if the market sells off broadly, you won't find Jim Cramer crying in his coffee. He believes that most selloffs present opportunity. Instead, he'll be sifting through his homework, looking for good companies that have strong prospects, impressive leadership teams and solid balance sheets.

Then, he'll look to see if the selloff has driven the stock down to a price that he thinks is too good to pass up. If it has, he'll consider scaling into a position, strategically.

Over the past week, Cramer has highlighted several high quality stocks that he thinks make good long-term buys. In the event of a selloff, these are exactly the kinds of stocks that will be on Cramer's radar, as he looks to leverage declines to his advantage.

His insights follow:

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On Tues., Aug. 26, when shares were around $150, Cramer called Perrigo "nothing short of a bargain."

First, as a maker of generic and private label drugs, Cramer said Perrigo was well positioned to capitalize on a long-term trend he calls the new frugality. Also, Cramer liked their nutrition unit as well as their patent protected drugs.

On top of that, "Last year, Perrigo acquired Elan, an Irish drug company," Cramer said. "The acquisition was a classic tax inversion, allowing the company to change its business address from the United States to the tax haven that is Ireland."

Not only does Perrigo now keep more of the money it earns, if it were to acquire another U.S.-based company, the target's profits could be taxed at the lower rate, too. In fact, even with a market cap of $20 billion, Cramer thinks Perrigo could become a takeover target itself, if an even larger firm wants to lower its tax rate.

"All told, to me, this smells like an opportunity," Cramer said. "Perrigo appears to have a lot going for it. I think its stock could rally back to its old highs and then some."

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

On Mon., Aug. 25, when Popeyes was trading around $40, Cramer said declines in this stock presented opportunity.

Largely, shares took a hit, after earnings showed the company wasn't opening stores quite as rapidly as the Street had hoped.

However, on "Mad Money," CEO Cheryl Bachelder told Cramer growth had not been compromised in any way. "We're still aggressively building out the footprint," she said. "I've said many times this chain has the opportunity to double in size. There's plenty of growth runway in this company and therefore in this stock."

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Cramer agreed. "Popeyes reported solid results, with in-line earnings, higher than anticipated sales, better than expected domestic same store sales growth, up 3.8 percent, and management reiterated full-year guidance," he said. "When a company does better than it's supposed to and the company goes down, that's when you should buy it."

Ann Taylor

On Tues. Aug. 26, when Ann Taylor was trading around $41, Cramer said this stock was worth watching, in part because Engine Capital and Red Alder, two activist investors, had urged the board to explore strategic alternatives.

"Over and over again this year we've seen activist investors push all sorts of companies to create value for their shareholders, so I'm intrigued by this situation, especially since the potential activists at Engine Capital believe ANN could be worth $50 to $55 a share, as much as 31 percent higher than where the stock's currently trading," Cramer said.

"Ann has historically been a pretty strong operator, and if the company doesn't want to sell itself, it has plenty of other options. For example, Ann has a pristine balance sheet, so it could easily borrow a ton of money at very low rates in order to finance a gigantic buyback. Just a lot that could go right here, although given the run-up since mid-August, I think you should wait for a pullback before you pull the trigger on this one."

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