With earnings season finally kicking off this week, Jim Cramer wondered which CEOs will dare to shock investors with a confirmation that things are actually better than they were before.
Listening to the presidential candidates, it may be difficult to see that things are turning around.
"Things are better than last earnings period. I believe that will come out, and it would already be obvious if not for the current political climate, where the socialist Bernie Sanders keeps winning primaries despite waging a one-man war on business and the Republicans keep talking about social issues, not job creation," the "Mad Money" host said.
A bullish tone to the market could depend on the dynamic expressed in earnings. If the market sticks with the same old story that it is a promotional environment with the strong dollar rendering U.S. companies uncompetitive — with no clarity of the Fed or politics — then Cramer expects investors to be at odds with a downbeat scenario six months from now.
"I think we should be prepared for a bit a different narrative, and we need to be a little more bulilsh than the skeptics who have already written off this earnings season as an ugly one," Cramer said.
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For example, Cramer wants investors to be ready for some executives to say that China has actually gotten better. After all, the Chinese stock market has roared lately, and the Baltic Freight index has doubled in the past few months.
But if the market goes with a story that the U.S. dollar has peaked and is going lower versus many other currencies, then Cramer wants investors to be prepared for a bullish overtone.
"Understand that with the dollar sinking versus so many currencies, raw costs under control, Europe and China getting stronger and the U.S. just fine, there is a reasonable hope for a new narrative on the horizon," Cramer said.
Once the bank earnings are out of the way this week, Cramer expects that new narrative to be better than most expect. That would be the real surprise of 2016.