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Cramer's game plan: A make-or-break week for every key sector

  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer goes over the stocks and events he will watch for this week.
  • The week's earnings reports represent every important group in the market and will make or break the rest of the quarter, Cramer says.
  • Cramer also touches on Nelson Peltz's proxy fight with the board of Procter & Gamble.

Monday's proxy fight between activist investor Nelson Peltz and the board of consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble captivated plenty of market-watchers, including Jim Cramer.

"There's no glossing over it," the "Mad Money" host said. "But let's not lose sight of the prize here as the market stands at what I regard as a truly make or break level ... and I think the fulcrum will be a slew of earnings that represent every important group I follow. The results we get this week I think could determine where stocks are headed for the rest of the quarter."

Given Peltz's track record of successfully turning companies around, Cramer did not understand why Procter took such a hard line against letting him onto the board.

However, considering how hard the company has worked to improve without much to show for it, Cramer said it was worth wondering how much Peltz can truly contribute.

"Still, my feeling is that Procter & Gamble is worth owning — that's been my view the whole way — because you've just gotten still one more way to win. The uglier this proxy fight gets, maybe the more shareholders stand to gain," Cramer said.

Speaking of gains for shareholders, Netflix issued its earnings report after Monday's bell that showed massive subscriber growth and especially strong international subscriber numbers.

Netflix's management also gave bullish guidance that exceeded Wall Street's expectations, sending the stock flying in after-hours trading.

"I think it might be an actual harbinger for the other FANG names, a good sign," Cramer said, referring to his acronym for the stocks of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, now Alphabet.

With that in mind, here are the stocks and events on Cramer's radar for the rest of this week:

Tuesday: Johnson & Johnson, UnitedHealthcare, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, IBM

Johnson & Johnson: The massive medical device, consumer goods and pharmaceutical company will issue its quarterly earnings report, and Cramer expects it to be "superb."

"But keep in mind, this is a stock that runs in advance of each quarter and then gives up some of the gains, meaning you'll likely get a chance to buy it into weakness," the "Mad Money" host said.

UnitedHealthcare: Calling it "the health care company of our era," Cramer said the Tuesday earnings report from this insurance giant should be positive thanks to the wall the GOP's "repeal and replace" agenda has run into in Washington.

Banks: Given the weakness in bank stocks since last Friday's earnings reports from JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo, Cramer is not sure that Bank of America and Goldman Sachs' respective reports will be able to lift the rest of the group.

"They're all hostage to the need for more volatility and higher interest rates, neither of which seems to be in the cards any time soon," he said.

IBM: The technology name will report earnings after Tuesday's closing bell, and Cramer is watching to see if this is finally the quarter when gains from IBM's faster growing businesses will make up for its legacy segments.

Wednesday: T-Mobile

T-Mobile: Telecommunications companies stocks' have been struggling of late, and Cramer thinks that it is largely because T-Mobile is taking their customers.

"That's why, when we hear from them, I bet we get a nice upside surprise as the stock has pulled back and is giving you what I think is a very good entry point," he said.

Thursday: Union Pacific, Microsoft, Visa

Union Pacific: Cramer finds that few other stocks give him a better read on the economy than freight railroad operator Union Pacific.

"I have found their commentary on its big cargoes — what's doing better, autos, equipment, homebuilding, coal, agriculture, construction — gives you a classic mosaic that can help you figure out how strong commerce really is in this country. Plus, I'm of the opinion that as the transports go, so goes the economy," Cramer said. "The key transport to me? Not the airlines, Union Pacific."

Microsoft: Cramer advised that any weakness in Microsoft's stock following its earnings report should be used to buy shares, as the company seems to be in a sweet spot with its web services business, Azure.

"CEO Satya Nadella impresses many people as an intellectual techie, but he doesn't get enough credit for competitive spirit and nature when it comes to winning," Cramer said. "Don't forget, we're also going to see the full fruits of his Microsoft's LinkedIn acquisition. I bet they'll be very positive too."

Visa: Like Microsoft, Visa is one of the best performing stocks in the Dow Jones average. Cramer is hoping for an ounce of negativity from its earnings report, so that homegamers can get into the stock before it benefits from a turn in European markets and growth in China.

Friday: Schlumberger, General Electric, Honeywell

Schlumberger: The recent downturn in oil prices began when Schlumberger's management said it did not expect oil prices to go higher anytime soon, so Cramer is watching closely to see what the company might say next.

"If you do not know the stock or the company Schlumberger, it's a marvel, the oil service company that remains the gem in a very tattered industry," Cramer said, touting CEO Paal Kibsgaard for telling it like it is. "I've got a real bad feel for what he's going to say this time, mainly that oil's not going higher and activity will be subdued for the rest of the year and perhaps much of 2018."

General Electric: With CEO Jeff Immelt on the way out and a stock that is down 15 percent for 2017, General Electric is in the throes of a brutal restructuring led in part by Peltz's activist hedge fund Trian Partners.

"GE presents a cautionary tale for those who own Procter & Gamble," Cramer said. "Procter, like GE, has set out to cut costs and boost revenues. But neither has cut deep enough or been able to grow much to speak of. I agree with Peltz when he says GE and Procter can accelerate cost cuts. Let's see what Immelt and incoming CEO John Flannery have to say about the prospects for a better 2018."

Honeywell: Honeywell's new CEO Darius Adamczyk will lead the earnings call, and while Cramer does not expect many concrete changes at the industrial until the fall, he hopes Adamczyk might shed some light on the state of the economy with his overview.

"Here's the bottom line: this, my friends, is a defining week. I think every sector we need to care about will be covered and we'll be able to game the rest of earnings based on what we hear over the next four days. So pay attention, stay focused and be ready," the "Mad Money" host said.

Cramer: Here are the week's most critical earnings reports

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Schlumberger, General Electric, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

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