If Janet Yellen says the United States is ready for a rate hike, Jim Cramer expects the market to get hit.
"It is as simple as that, so if you are in trading mode to the long side, be aware that she can hurt you with tough talk and take you to new heights with talk of staying the course until we get better data," the "Mad Money" host said.
Yellen and the Fed face a problem in that job growth has been strong but wages have stayed stagnant. There would be no point in hiking rates, other than the fear of inflation, Cramer said. The world's transition to digitization and globalization are wage crushers.
With the U.S. central bank in mind, Cramer outlined the stocks and events he will be watching this week. And while it is a somewhat slow week, he was stunned by how big they were:
Tuesday: Best Buy, J M Smucker, Toll Brothers
Best Buy: Retail has come back strong this quarter, and much of that relates to appliances and furniture in the home. Cramer is interested to hear what Best Buy has to say about the products they sell, especially Apple, Fitbit and GoPro devices. He expects Fitbit sales to be weaker and GoPro to be stronger, and perhaps Best Buy can shed light on that.
Wednesday: PVH Corp, HP Inc, Workday
PVH: Low expectations and higher traffic in the mall lately have indicated to Cramer that PVH could be a good bet.
HP Inc: Cramer expects share sof HP Inc, which represents the printer and personal computer side of the former Hewlett-Packard, to react positively, especially if the company discusses industrial 3-D printing offerings and the benefits of a strong yen.
Workday: Cramer always becomes weary when a stock like Workday is downgraded two days before it reports earnings.
"Workday is in a dogfight with SAP and Oracle for clients, and the rap has been that there is too much competition. Long term, I know not to bet against CEO Aneel Bhusri, but I did find that downgrade disconcerting," Cramer said.
Thursday: Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Tiffany, Signet, GameStop, UIta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance
Dollar Tree, Dollar General: Cramer expects good numbers, but fears that these companies won't be able to rise above the rotation that is pulling money away from red-hot retailers.
Tiffany: At this point, Cramer considers Tiffany to be an excuse machine that blames everything but itself for poor execution. As the dollar has weakened this year, it could actually have a good quarter. But Cramer still said to leave it alone.
Ulta Salon: This stock has been on fire this year, up 46 percent. Cramer would like to see it pull back going into the quarter, especially since commentary from Janet Yellen could pull down stocks, causing a strong quarter not to matter in the end.
Friday: Janet Yellen's speech
Yellen is set to speak at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's annual Economic Policy Symposium in Jackson Hole.
"She's smart, so I'm betting Yellen simply argues we don't have enough data yet to draw a conclusion," Cramer said.
However, if she does surprise investors and put a September rate hike on the table, Cramer expects that barring a large decline earlier in the week, the market simply won't be able to handle it.