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Cramer’s Earnings Preview for Thursday

Chipotle restaurant
Source: Chipotle.com
Chipotle restaurant

Looking forward to Thursday, Jim Cramer plans to monitor corporate earnings reports from several companies.

Union Pacific, for example, is expected to report earnings before Thursday's open.

From its assessment of the coal industry, crops or intermodal freight, Cramer said there are many reasons to listen to this railroad's conference call.

Cramer noted Union Pacific has re-priced many of its contracts lately, too, which should improve margins. To Cramer, this stock might be worth buying on a pullback ahead of the quarter.

(Related: Cramer's 10 Hottest Momentum Stocks)

After the close, Chipotle Mexican Grill will report its quarterly results. To Cramer, this is a "battleground" stock.

"A bunch of boutique investment firms came out in the last few days, saying alternately that same-store sales are back on a higher trajectory for Chipotle and that those sales would disappoint, " Cramer said. "I don't know who to believe, but unless we hear about a 9 to 10 percent same store-sales gain, I think you're going to get still one more leg down in this stock, as there are a lot of smart short-sellers in the name."

Google will also deliver earnings Thursday. Cramer thinks this will be one of the hottest momentum stocks going into the end of the year. For those interested in playing it ahead of the quarter, he recommends deep-in-the-money call options .

(See: Google Opens Window Into Secretive Data Centers.)

Speaking of tech, Microsoft is also expected to announce earnings Thursday. The company will likely discuss Window 8, which it's preparing to launch soon. Being as the PC market is struggling, though, Cramer wonders how bad Microsoft's quarter could be.

Read on for What Microsoft's Tablet Has That Apple's iPad Doesn't

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