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Cramer's game plan: If you can't take the pain, do some selling

Key Points
  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer looks ahead to key events in the week ahead and flags opportunities for investors to spruce up their portfolios.
  • Cramer warns investors about the newly volatile market and explains why weak-handed homegamers may want to consider selling into strength.
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If you can't take the pain, start selling

As markets recovered on Thursday, CNBC's Jim Cramer emphasized just how much of a battleground the tape has become in 2018.

"I think Amazon defines the modern-day stock market battlefield," the "Mad Money" host said. "Here's a stock that gave up 120 points in two days on rumors and stories about how President Trump hates Amazon."

The chaos around the e-commerce giant was only made worse when the White House denied the reports before Trump took to Twitter on Thursday and criticized Amazon for its tax treatment.

Shares of Amazon lifted slightly into Thursday's close as investors realized the president's critiques consisted "more of fantasy than fact," Cramer said.

"But the major point I need to make as we wrap up a largely dispiriting quarter is that if you can't handle the news flow, both fake and real, you need to use this rally to lighten up, maybe even on Monday, [on] the names that have caused you the most fright," Cramer told investors.

The "Mad Money" host noted how easily false accusations can decimate stock prices in this environment, arguing that it was time for investors to reassess the risks in the market.

"If you want to stick with this market, make sure you can handle these accusations from short-sellers and presidents that often turn out to be false or at least overblown," he said.

With that, Cramer turned to his game plan for the week ahead:

Monday: Facebook update

Without any important earnings updates, the market will likely focus on Facebook on Monday in light of the social media platform's recent data scandal, Cramer said.

After news broke that research firm Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 50 million Facebook users without their consent and used it to support Trump's 2016 campaign, Cramer repeatedly called on Facebook executives to hire outside counsel to mitigate the damage.

"It's the only way for Facebook to get past this debacle that really brought out the long knives from the legions of people who clearly despise [CEO Mark] Zuckerberg," the "Mad Money" host said.

Tuesday: Cloudera

Technology stocks have been especially hurt during the market's midweek declines, and Cramer hoped Cloudera's Tuesday earnings report would remind investors why they liked cloud stocks in the first place.

Wednesday: Carmax, Lennar, Ollie's Bargain Outlet

Carmax and Lennar: With the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, market-watchers are growing increasingly wary of housing and auto sales data.

Cramer recommended waiting for reference points from Carmax, the largest used car dealer in the United States, and Lennar, one of the country's largest homebuilders, in their Wednesday earnings reports.

Ollie's: Cramer expected a strong earnings report from discount brick-and-mortar chain Ollie's Bargain Outlet, which he hoped would defend the revived retail thesis.

Thursday: Monsanto

On Thursday, agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto reports earnings and could give the market some insight on how the agricultural sector is handling tariff-related pressures.

"I don't really care as much about the quarter as I do about hearing which countries want to retaliate against the U.S. now that our government's showing some backbone when it comes to trade policy," Cramer said.

"We subsidize agriculture like nothing else in this country, so it tends to be the first thing our trading partners target when they go after American exports," he continued. "Monsanto will tell us — and they're honest fellas — how worried we should be."

Friday: Non-farm payrolls

The Labor Department will issue its report on non-farm payrolls on Friday. Cramer hoped the data would allow Fed Chair Jerome Powell to raise the federal funds rate, bringing interest rates closer to normalization while keeping wage growth steady.

"It's not all noise," the "Mad Money" host insisted. "This is the most important macro number we get — it does determine much of what was bad and good, like what was bad from the data in January and what was good about February."

Final thoughts

After a tough week for technology stocks, Cramer hoped investors would warm back up to them given the strong secular themes of e-commerce, social media, search and autonomous driving.

"If the hate for them continues, you have my blessing to do some selling," Cramer said. "And I have to tell you, my charitable trust will be joining you in trimming some of these positions next week, if only so I can stay sane enough to continue to do this darned show."

WATCH: Cramer's game plan for post-earnings season

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Cramer's game plan: If you can't take the pain, start selling

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Amazon and Facebook.

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