With the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging by more than 100 points on Thursday after falling for over a week, investors are wondering if the worst of the recent decline is over.
Although the Dow is often used as a proxy for the broader market, Jim Cramer reminds that the Dow is made up of individual companies and each so-called 'single stock story' warrants examination.
Looking at 21 recent earnings reports from Dow companies and grading them accordingly, Cramer said there are 9 A students, 5 Bs, 6 Cs, and a single D.
"Yet the index has fallen more than four percent since 2014 began," Cramer noted. "I think that's enough punishment for this report card. There are individual stocks that could suffer more, but overall the companies are doing better, while their stocks are doing worse. To me, the pain seems baked in."
Following are Cramer insights on each of the 21 stocks he graded.
JPMorgan: "JPMorgan reported one of the best quarters of any financial, yet it's gone down pretty much in a straight line since then. Why? JPM has some Chinese exposure and as a global bank, it's always going to be impacted by emerging market turmoil. But this is not Citigroup, which has made its bed in those peripheral countries. I think JP Morgan's a buy, right here," Cramer said.
American Express: "American Express had its finest quarter in years, with expenses under control and balanced growth," Cramer noted. And still the stock has dropped down to $86, the level at which it was trading before earnings. "That's comical," Cramer said.
Dupont: Cramer likes Dupont as a company under transformation. "It's going from a commodity company to a proprietary chemicals company," said Cramer. "I think the transition is going better than expected, but it got slammed all the way down from $64, where it was when it reported, to $59, before bouncing back Teflon-style to $61 and change today."
Caterpillar: Cramer thinks Caterpillar may be at the beginning of a multi-year turn. "It made numbers on the backs of better than expected business in the U.S. and huge cost cuts, without a strong China," noted Cramer.
Microsoft: "No investor would have ever wanted Steve Ballmer's head if Microsoft had delivered this kind of quarter regularly," said Cramer. "I think this $36 stock is going to $40," he added.
United Technologies: "I'm still reeling from how good United Technologies was, and how the business got stronger as the quarter went on," Cramer said. "But the stock plummeted from $116 to $111, before rebounding nicely."
Procter & Gamble: P&G is a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust. "The organic growth's kicking in, the emerging markets are gaining strength. So I can't believe this stock has dropped to $77."
Pfizer: Cramer said Pfizer was managing far better than anyone thought post patent cliff. "Though sales were weaker, there's no denying Pfizer has a strong pipeline and if it pulls back to $29 again, I'd call it one of the best bargains in the Dow."
Visa: "Visa snapped out of its funk, reporting robust growth, as the great secular story of paper to plastic keeps taking over the world," Cramer said.
Goldman Sachs: "Goldman Sachs is delivering good numbers, and it's set to deliver even better ones with the return of M&A activity to a higher level—it's just suffering by comparison to many of the other financials. But the decline from $179 down to $165 is ridiculous," Cramer said.
GE: Although the Street thinks GE blew the quarter, Cramer isn't so sure. "I went over it line by line and found that aerospace and oil and gas were very good and healthcare was okay; meanwhile the company's repositioning itself and it has tons of orders globally. GE's suffering from a perceived downturn in China, but the facts don't bear that out, which is why I think the stock's 10% decline from its highs is a serious overreaction."
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Verizon: "Verizon delivered a typical quarter," Cramer said. "But the closing of the Verizon Wireless deal should give it some pep and I like that 4.5% yield here."
Johnson & Johnson: "JNJ didn't deliver the earnings as I expected; the margins just weren't exceptional. But the revenues were terrific, and that's what I want from a drug company, along with a fabulous pipeline. Yet JNJ's been way over-punished for its B-grade, dropping from $95 to $89. Silly."
Travelers: Cramer said Travelers reported an excellent quarter. "However, management mentioned price competition and while I thought everybody already knew about that, it didn't matter to the stock, which has been clubbed beyond all reason. I'd buy right here."
Intel: Cramer said Intel was a victim of a huge number of upgrades going into the quarter without an upside surprise. "We bought Intel for the trust yesterday. Why not? It's de-risked here and yields a safe 3.6%."
McDonald's: "I can't think of a reason to buy it here, but no one seems to be able to find a reason to sell it, either, perhaps because of its decent yield. McDonald's is always one good quarter away from $100, and that's how I would approach this stock."
AT&T: "This one wasn't nearly as bad as the naysayers on the conference call seemed to think," Cramer noted. "The dividend should be perfectly safe given the bountiful cash, but management couldn't seem to convince anyone of that, which is why the stock's been a huge bust. Now AT&T's the highest yielder in the Dow at 5.5%, and I bet they could boost the payout."
Boeing: You might be surprised to learn that Cramer gave Boeing a 'C'. "Guidance was horrendous," Cramer said. "However, I think Boeing's guidance was classic UPOD—yep, Jim McNerney under-promised, and I think he will now over-deliver so I think it's a buy."
Exxon: Cramer called these earnings 'a head scratcher'. "Exxon slipped right back into that negative mode this quarter. Just not that great at all. Let Warren Buffett keep buying, but don't join him."
3M: "The growth at 3M here was merely okay, nothing to write home about, which simply isn't good enough given how much the stock had run."
IBM: "This was just a nasty no growth quarter," Cramer said. "Even here at $177, down from $192 before the quarter, IBM is not a keeper."
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