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There is a reason why Jim Cramer always preaches to investors the importance of digging in the weeds with conference calls, listening to management and devouring insights from a company.
This is the information that will let investors predict trends and prepare for opportunities before any of Wall Street's algorithms and analysts figure them out.
Just as a coach on a football team will study a replay film of the game, Cramer does the same for stocks.
"Consider the quarterly conference calls the game film of our business. You study the film, you can go from being a decent player to a really good one," the "Mad Money " host said.
Cramer has never been one to shy away from hard work, and hard work means studying the data over and over again until he can understand the terrain and adapt to it.
To illustrate his point, Cramer used the stocks of Kroger and Dollar General, which were both winners from Thursday's decline. Both companies reported terrific quarters and their shareholders were rewarded.
Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer
The strength behind these two companies is that they know their customers and know what they want — good value at a good price.
Dollar General knows that its consumer is always strapped for cash. Now that employment is so strong, why would the consumer still be cash strapped?
The answer is twofold: rent and health care costs. Dollar General customers are not seeing wage growth, and the inflation in rent and higher health-care costs are keeping them from shopping anywhere else.
"I think that is incredibly helpful toward understanding why, despite all of the positive macro reports you hear, things really aren't so hot out there and why both Dollar General and Dollar Tree are still doing better than you would have thought, " Cramer said.
Cramer was also able to pull valuable insights from the game film of Kroger. It was clear to him that the company is highlighting its natural and organic offerings and taking share from Whole Foods. He also ascertained that its private label Simple Truth means chief private label maker TreeHouse will continue to do well.
"I don't know about you, but I wouldn't have those insights without looking at the game film of these conference calls. It is a boring, nerdy game to play. But it gives you the edge you need," Cramer said.
It was these insights that allowed both Kroger and Dollar General's stocks to make money on one of the worst days of the year.