Make no mistake, said Jim Cramer, next week will be all about the forthcoming jobs number and what the stock market believes is coming on Friday.
"The non-farm payroll number is looming so large it already controlled trading today," noted the "Mad Money" host.
Expect more of the same in the week ahead.
Nonetheless, Jim Cramer still believes there will be opportunities in the market. You simply have to know where to look.
Following are the earnings releases Jim Cramer intends to watch as well as Cramer's insights on the all-important jobs number coming Friday.
MONDAY MARCH 3
On Monday, retail will land on Cramer's radar with results from Ascena. "This is one of those retailers that I except to rally on bad numbers, just like we saw with Best Buy, Kohl's, Sears, and J.C. Penney. I think that will be the Ascena story when it reports after the bell Monday," Cramer said.
In addition, energy will command attention with results from SolarCity. "First, it's an Elon Musk company and he's now viewed as being able to do no wrong," Cramer said. "Second, it's heavily shorted, meaning many people are betting against it. Third, it's part and parcel with this revolutionary new battery that Musk has up his sleeve. Fourth, it already mentioned this week that things are good. So I figure with all of that, SolarCity goes higher."
TUESDAY MARCH 4
The state of the consumer will come into focus on Tuesday with results from AutoZone. "The average car's been on the road for twelve years and car owners like going to AutoZone to service their vehicles," Cramer noted. "I would buy some before it reports and then some after, if it gets hit, as AutoZone's been a terrific bet to buy on weakness."
WEDNESDAY MARCH 5
On Wednesday Cramer will be all about booze; Brown Forman reports results. "I can tell you that the scarcity value alone makes it worth a lot as there aren't many hard liquor stocks left. Plus, even better, when rival Diageo, parent of Johnnie Walker, reported last, the numbers were miserable, but after initially getting hammered, the stock came right back. To me, that says buy some Brown-Forman before the quarter and buy some after."
THURSDAY MARCH 6
Cramer says Thursday will bring three important quarterly reports: Joy Global, Kroger and Costco. "My bet is that the first two simply fail to deliver. Joy Global's machinery is used to extract coal from the earth and that's rapidly going out of fashion in this country. Kroger's been saying that things have gotten tough of late and the whole supermarket sector's pretty challenged. But the third, Costco, if it comes back down ahead of the quarter is mighty tempting."
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FRIDAY MARCH 7
On Friday, retail will again take center stage with earnings from Foot Locker. "We've had a tremendous rally in the sneaker business and we know that Macy's has ceded sneaker control to this retailer. Here's what I would do. If we get a weak employment number at the same time as a strong Foot Locker quarter, I'm sure the stock will be whacked anyway. That's when you should pull the trigger."
And then there's the jobs number. Cramer believes nothing is more important than this economic indicator.
According to Cramer's proprietary research, two weak employment numbers in a row will play havoc on the stock market.
"And we've actually already had two weak payroll numbers in a row but the market has gotten a pass because of the weather. However, I'm telling you that if the next number is lousy, there will be no free pass this time, even if we all know that February had some nasty weather, too."
Therefore if the number is weak, Cramer will be looking for a rotation.
"If we get a downbeat non-farm payroll numbers, I believe institutional investors will sell the cyclical stocks, the big industrials, and rotate into defensive stocks such as Kimberly-Clark, Clorox and Pfizer." In fact, that theme of rotation could endure in the market for quite some time, again if we get a weak payroll number.
And Cramer added investors should expect jitters in the market; therefore stocks could easily to stumble into Friday. "Next week is one of those weeks where it makes sense to plan for the worst."
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