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Cramer’s game plan: Earnings surprises ahead?

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Cramer's noticed a theme in the market, lately. Certain earnings have included gigantic upside surprises.

Therefore, he says, it's prudent to ask yourself, "Who could be next? Which companies could provide fireworks with their earnings?"

Following are the quarterly reports Cramer intends to follow closely in the week ahead.

MONDAY OCTOBER 28TH

Cramer expects a somewhat dramatic day with Apple reporting. "Now there's been a lot of chatter about what Apple has to do to get the stock moving higher, in part because of very public comments made by Carl Icahn." The billionaire investor wants Apple use some of its cash to buy back stock in the hopes of driving shares higher.

But Cramer says not to get preoccupied with that piece of theater. What matters for investors is what Apple says about gross margins.

"Higher gross margins will be taken to mean that people are still willing to pay premium prices for Apple's products versus those of the competition, particularly those manufactured by Samsung. You hear that gross margins are up and the stock flies regardless of what they do with the cash. You hear that gross margins are going down, and all the cash in the world won't save the stock from revisiting the low 400s. It's as simple as that," Cramer said.

In addition, Cramer will be watching Herbalife on Monday. "This stock is a battleground, because on the bull side you have Carl Icahn and on the bear side you have Bill Ackman. If Herbalife reports a good quarter and is allowed to do a monster buyback because it has a clean accounting bill of health, I think that will breathe new life into the bulls."

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

TUESDAY OCTOBER 29TH

New media will land front and center on Tuesday with results from Yelp and LinkedIn.

"These companies with their dual subscription and advertising models represent two of the most exciting new stories that have come public in years. I want to hear Linked-In raise its revenue forecast and give us a three for one split. Yelp has so many opportunities they can hardly be counted. I bet both deliver the goods."

Cramer will also be watching a long-time favorite Gilead, which reports after the close.

"I've been a huge champion of this stock because its Hepatitis C treatment has huge potential, but I'm concerned here because we saw terrific numbers from Celgene this week yet the stock keeps coming down. Without pinpoint information about when we're going to see approvals and sales estimates for this new medicine, I think Gilead might act like Celgene, ignoring the good news and going down anyway."

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 30TH

Cramer intends to visit the house that Zuckerberg built on Wednesday as Facebook reports.

"I want to hear about how Faecbook is going to continue to monetize mobile and social while it becomes the de facto way for advertisers around the globe to reach youthful consumers. Now, my charitable trust had a big gain this year in Facebook and because I play with an open hand, you need to know that I trimmed back my position. If you have a big gain going into the quarter I have to recommend taking something off the table."

Also Cramer may sip on some coffee on Wednesday as Starbucks reports.

"If you don't own the stock, wait until the quarter's announced. I think analysts will, mistakenly, give CEO Howard Schultz a hard time about Chinese sales in the wake of questions over price gauging," Cramer speculated. "I say let it come down and then buy because I think 2014 will be gangbusters for Starbucks. And that's what matters."

In addition the auto trade will land front and center with results from General Motors.

"I think General Motors is going to surprise people when it reports Wednesday because I believe China and Europe have gotten better. In fact, GM could be the sleeper stock for the week."

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THURSDAY OCTOBER 31ST

It may be Halloween on Thursday but Cramer isn't expecting any treats from Exxon, when it reports earnings. "Exxon reminds me of big pharma: no real growth, lots of cash flow, nothing special in the pipe."

In the event Exxon triggers a sell-off in the sector, Cramer suggesting buying Noble Energy on the decline. "They had the best earnings report of any oil this past week. My charitable trust has a small position in the stock and we're itching to make it bigger on any weakness."

Also Cramer will be watching First Solar which he thinks could surprise to the upside.

"If I'm interpreting commentary from Solar City and DuPont correctly, both are seeing rapid growth again in solar. If that's the case, then First Solar results could be stronger than expected. However, I would only bet on it with deep in the money calls to limit risk."

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 1ST

Again oil will steal the spotlight, this time with results from Chevron. "Chevron's one of those stocks that has literally been a buy every time it gets hit, so if oil goes down earlier in the week taking Chevron with it, I would pick some up for a quick trade ahead of the quarter."

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