Why's It On Sale?

Here's how to tell which stocks are the real bargains and which ones are damaged goods

When your favorite department store holds a big one-day sale, I'll bet you look closely to see which items are on sale because they've gone out of style or out of season, and which ones are damaged goods. And that's just how you ought to shop when there's a clearance sale in the stock market, like the one that knocked the Dow down 207 points last Monday. But there you have to inspect the goods especially closely. Stocks aren't vacuum cleaners; if they break when you get home, you can't take them back to your broker for a refund.

You should,...

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