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.
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 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.