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Consider the Source – Updated

Cramer has a maxim: Know your guru. It’s a call-to-action of sorts for investors, urging them to retain a healthy dose of skepticism when dealing with any supposed Wall Street expert, him included. Well, the same goes for companies.

You always have to consider the source, Cramer said, no matter who’s talking. So if Dell or Motorola release terrible quarterly numbers, blaming it on a tough business environment, don’t assume that the entire tech sector is under pressure. More likely, Apple and Research in Motion will follow right behind with great reports.

See, you can’t take your investing cues from an inferior company. Paraphrasing George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which Cramer often does, some companies are more equal than others. For that reason, an entire industry’s outlook can’t be measured against the performance of a single firm, or, at least, one of the worst.

This goes beyond just technology. The same rule applies to any sector, whether it’s food and beverage, personal goods or restaurants. So watch for the excuse-makers. They’ll be the companies pointing a finger at the weak economy while their competitors deliver better-than-expected results regardless.

When this story published, Cramer’s charitable trust owned Apple.

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