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Investors deserve a break after the last five days of rolling bear markets.
U.S. stocks fell on Friday, with the Dow ending in negative territory for the year and the S&P 500 posting its worst week since May 2012. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 115.15 points, or 0.69 percent, and the lost 22.08 points, or 1.15 percent.
The good news is that Jim Cramer thinks we will get a break on Monday. Why? Because it's Columbus Day and he says companies know better than to say anything other than Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
In order for things to really improve next week, Cramer thinks several situations bear watching over the weekend.
First, any sign that the stalemate over Ukraine between Germany and Russia is coming to an end would be good for the market. Second, more containment of the Ebola outbreaks would help ease concerns that have collapsed the travel and leisure stocks. Third, a stabilization of oil would allow the primary creator of jobs in this country to keep on hiring.
Unfortunately, without the relief of these three items, Cramer thinks the downturn of the markets will resume, hopefully with short bursts of positive earning reports. Even then, the reaction to Alcoa's positive earnings this week, it makes one wonder if that will happen.
To make sure investors have a clear picture of the week ahead, here's a list of what Cramer is watching, along with his best assessment of how to play the market in return.
Tuesday: Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, CSX and Intel
Citigroup: This is a bank that has a large international base and reported a terrific quarter last time. If they do it again, it may be hard for them to maintain these levels.
Wells Fargo: This is a company that will reflect the strength and weakness of the economy since it's all domestic. If we don't hear good news, then Cramer expects a big selloff in all of the other regional banks
JP Morgan: The bulls will need to hear two things: First an upbeat Jamie Dimon talking about a timetable to be back at his desk following his treatment for throat cancer; and second, that the bank has been able to profit from all of the volatility. That used to be JP Morgan's stock in trade.
CSX Corp: The rails represent U.S. commerce, and the numbers will give us a healthy reality check of how we are doing. Cramer doesn't have an answer on this one, and he'll be listening, too.
Intel: This stock was clobbered when Microchip announced a horrid quarter citing Chinese weakness. If the technology sector is to get its spunk back, Cramer thinks it needs to have Intel report a good quarter.
Wednesday: Cult day—Netflix
The cult of Netflix. "This market's become badly bifurcated between those companies that have captured America's fancy—think Netflix, Amazon and Tesla—and then the rest of the companies which actually have to show earnings, not just exciting press releases when they report, " Cramer added.
In other words, the market isn't going to want to hear about anything but blow-out subscriber numbers on Wednesday. If Netflix delivers, then the stock will come alive again. If it doesn't, the cult goes down.
Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer
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Cramer: Dispelling the market's smoke and mirrors
Cramer: Activists are picking on the wrong chiefs
Thursday: PPG Industries
PPG will give investors a first read on industrial America. This group has seen so much pain, and it was the first group to recover after the Great Recession. "Just to show you the dislocation in the market, PPG, one of my absolute favorite industrials is actually down 2.5 percent for the year. Can you believe that?" If there is to be any turn in the sinking ship that is Industrial America, Cramer thinks PPG will have to steer it.
Friday: Honeywell and General Electric
Cramer thinks this perhaps the most important day of the week. Why is it so important? Let's take a look at each stock.
Honeywell: CEO Dave Cote has steered this company as well as anyone can shepherd a business. We know that the aerospace business is doing well because Alcoa has done so well. However, airline stocks are dealing with Ebola fears. If they keep going down, than Cramer thinks Honeywell earnings will be in the rear view mirror.
General Electric: Normally investors would want to hear all about how General Electric's huge monopoly of businesses are doing. Not this time. The "Mad Money" host wants to find out about the two businesses that General Electric has moved aggressively into: infrastructure and oil and gas.
So where does this leave us?
At the end of the week, Cramer still thinks that this will be a treacherous market. "A bull has to hope that at a certain point, stocks will stay the same or go higher when companies report basically in-line earnings…I sense we aren't there yet."
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