Earnings season starts next week, and despite the fact that most investors seem to think that only the Fed matters, Jim Cramer knows that corporate sales and earnings are key.
"12 weeks a year — the three weeks each quarter that I regard as official earnings seasons — can matter. Consider them the playoffs and all the rest are just regular season games," the "Mad Money" host said.
With this in mind, Cramer shared his game plan of stocks and events that he will be watching next week:
Monday: ISM non-manufacturing report, The Container Store
ISM non-manufacturing: Just as Friday's soft nonfarm payroll number mattered to Wall Street on Friday, Cramer will be watching for the ISM non-manufacturing number. In fact, he considers it to be the lone number that has remained strong. The U.S. is a service economy, so if it shows a slowdown, it could be completely nuts for the Fed to even consider tightening.
"You know my new view, though: the Fed has to fish or cut bait. Either raise rates this month or shut up about them until next year. Anything else is just torture," Cramer said. (Tweet this)
The Container Store: Cramer is watching this one because it's one of the biggest disappointments out there. Can it pull a rabbit out of a hat? Cramer's not a fan of the stock, but it has now gone so low that maybe at last there could be something positive to say.
Tuesday: PepsiCo, Yum Brands, Adobe analyst meeting, Germany's industrial production
PepsiCo: This consumer product company has done miraculous things lately, but the stock has done nothing. Could the tides be changing? Cramer thinks eventually something good is bound to happen with all of the right moves that its CEO has been making.
Yum Brands: This stock will prove to be a bargain, and Cramer says to buy it if it gets hammered on Monday.
Adobe analyst meeting: The meeting might prove to be the best thing that happens on Tuesday. Cramer wants to own this stock ahead of the meeting, because he thinks the story is fantastic.
Germany industrial production: Cramer is paying close attention to this number and to the trade balance figures on Thursday because 70 percent of Germany's business is related to cars and exporting. Given the turmoil with Volkswagen recently, Germany has a few problems right now that could impact the health of Europe.
Wednesday: Constellation Brands, Monsanto
Constellation: This company has been nothing short of miraculous, Cramer said. It has the hammerlock on the two fastest growing beer brands in the U.S., Modelo and Corona. Cramer recommended doing some buying both before and after the quarter.
Thursday: Domino's Pizza, Alcoa
Domino's: Cramer considers this to be the most forward-looking tech play in the restaurant business, which is the secret to its growth. He expects good numbers but suggested waiting until after the quarter to buy it as there could be a sell-off after it reports.
Alcoa: Its recent announcement that it will break up into two companies, a higher value-added products play and a low-cost commodity maker, didn't get the attention it deserved, in Cramer's opinion. He thinks there is one point of downside and four points up, and he likes the risk-reward.
Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer
Friday: Stratasys shareholder meeting
Cramer thinks this 3D-printing company is among one of the most disappointing stocks of this era. 3D was once a craze, as there was so much excitement around it that the stocks kept driving higher. Then, it ended suddenly, and shareholders were left whimpering. This story reminded Cramer of what is happening with cult stocks such as GoPro and Mobileye.
"It's a cautionary tale that must not be overlooked because it's pretty much what this market has become for so many highfliers," Cramer added.
Ultimately, investors should brace themselves for a busy week. Despite the recent turmoil in the markets, earnings do matter. They always have, and they always will and next week is the playoffs for earnings.