Cramer: Next Week’s 8 Essential Earnings Reports

Cramer on Friday offered up his game plan for the coming week. He urged viewers to watch a number of key earnings reports, saying that any bad news would require a quick shift in investing strategy.

Research in Motion , “the most important quarter of the week,” Cramer said, will tell us whether or not the mobile Internet thesis is still working. The Mad Money host set Apple’s price target at $264, and Palm announced the sale of 800,000 Pre handsets. Were these numbers drawn from RIMM, or did the industry grow as a whole? It all depends on what the company says. Cramer wouldn’t recommend Research in Motion – it’s up 20% in 20 days – but he’ll use the report “as a gauge, nothing more.”

With flu season approaching, investors are looking to trade it. Cramer recommended they stay far away from Rite Aid , which delivers earnings numbers on Thursday. The company is “a distant third” compared to CVS Caremark and Walgreen , and he thinks RAD should be sold the day before the report.

“I don’t want you to be sucked in here,” Cramer said of Rite Aid’s seemingly cheap stock price. “These people are serial underperformers.”

Wall Street will be watching ConAgra and General Mills on Tuesday and Wednesday for signs of a sector rotation. If these stocks move higher, then investors are saying they fear a continued recession. That would set off a rotation out of cyclical names like Caterpillar and Freeport-McMoRan , and Cramer suggested that viewers do the same.

Monro Muffler Brake has surged to $31.75 from $20.32, or 56%, since Cramer’s Aug. 19 recommendation. Is the auto-parts market, and Monro specifically, still worth buying? He’ll reiterate the call if AutoZone announces a strong quarter on Wednesday.

Don’t buy Paychex ahead of its Wednesday report, Cramer said. The company offers a decent 4.2% dividend yield, but this is more about “the strength of hiring.” Paychex deals with a lot of small to midsize businesses, which are crucial to US employment.

Lastly, Bed, Bath & Beyond just hit a 52-week high. If the stock falls after its earnings announcement on Wednesday, Cramer said, then “it might be a sign that perhaps retail, after an amazing run, is peaking.” Retail has been a major market driver since the early March lows, so investors should watch for any kind of stutter step from this company.

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