Cramer Remix: Forget Alcoa—this stock will set the tone this earnings season

  • CNBC's Jim Cramer reveals which company is kicking off earnings season.
  • The "Mad Money" host also reverses his call on the ailing General Electric.
  • In the lightning round, Cramer blesses an under-the-radar fintech-meets-analytics play.

As CNBC's Jim Cramer sees it, the stock market is in the middle of a full-fledged stand-off between the bulls and the bears.

The bulls got a win with Friday morning's jobs report from the U.S. Labor Department that said the country added 213,000 non-farm jobs in June. Stocks rose after the report was issued.

But the bears were already reeling from the official start of the U.S.-China trade war that came just after midnight on Friday, in which the two nations exchanged $34 billion worth of tariffs.

And while Cramer was astonished by how many jobs were being created without a serious uptick in inflation, he couldn't get too bullish considering the damage that tariffs could still do to the U.S. economy.

"Is our economy strong enough to keep on trucking even in the face of these negatives? I think we’ll get some real insight into that as companies start reporting next week," the "Mad Money" host said.

With those opposing forces in mind, Cramer turned to his weekly game plan. And while Alcoa's earnings usually come first, this time, the tone-setting will come from PepsiCo's Tuesday earnings report, he said.

"I expect the stock to trade lower, but this company has a lot of levers" that could help the soda and snack maker bring out value, he said.

He added that his charitable trust, which owns shares of PepsiCo, would hold onto the stock despite concerns that a weaker-than-expected quarter could decimate the stock "because there are so many strengths that are being masked by carbonated beverage declines and market share losses to arch-rival Coca-Cola."

A glimmer of hope for GE?

John Flannery, GE
Christopher Goodney | Bloomberg | Getty Images
John Flannery, GE

Cramer is starting to see glimmers of hope in ailing industrial giant General Electric.

"I think the end of the long decline in GE is finally here," he said Friday. "After seeing the results of the company’s lengthy strategic review last week, especially the plan to break up this unwieldy conglomerate into easier-to-understand pieces, I am a believer."

Cramer didn't expect GE's stock to start rallying right away. He didn't expect the company's numbers to immediately improve or its 3.76 percent dividend to somehow become safe.

But he did know one thing: "It’s time to buy the stock of General Electric."

"I do believe that, at these levels, the potential upside far outweighs the possible downside," he said. "In other words, the risk-reward is very attractive."

Find out why Cramer's calling bottom here.

The ups and downs of the oil space

An oil rigger at a Schlumberger field prepares pipes in Midland, Texas.
Kirk McKoy | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
An oil rigger at a Schlumberger field prepares pipes in Midland, Texas.

There's a problem brewing in the oil space, but Cramer says it represents an opportunity for investors, not a reason to run.

"The biggest quandary in the oil market isn’t about what’s happening right now — skyrocketing prices with, actually, no lid in sight," the "Mad Money" host said Friday. "It's what's going to happen versus what should be happening."

If you ask Cramer, oil-rich nations should be re-investing the gains they're seeing from rising oil prices into exploring and drilling for more crude.

But many countries in OPEC are plagued by socioeconomic turmoil — look at Venezuela, Libya or Iran — that has prevented them from taking action when it comes to finding new oil banks.

"By this point in the cycle, all of these countries should be spending fortunes to discover new oil fields," Cramer said.

But it sure doesn't seem like they're gearing up for more exploration. And in the meantime, oil keeps climbing. Find out where Cramer sees opportunities for investors here.

How to play the pain in Conagra

Bull and bear statues outside Frankfurt's stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany.
Ralph Orlowski | Reuters
Bull and bear statues outside Frankfurt's stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany.

Even though Conagra Brands' shares took a hit after the company announced its much-anticipated, $10.9 billion acquisition of Pinnacle Foods, Cramer wasn't giving up on the consumer foods play.

"Sometimes, when companies merge you have to think long and hard to justify why they might belong under the same roof. That’s not the case here," he said. "There’s a reason we’ve been talking about a Conagra-Pinnacle Foods tie-up for over a year."

With well-known brands in the increasingly popular freezer aisle and a number of health-conscious brands like Bird's Eye, Cramer saw Pinnacle as a shoe-in addition to Conagra's business.

"Put it all together and this company’s got a lot going for it," the "Mad Money" host said. "The bottom line? The huge pullback in Conagra’s stock last week was a gift. The Pinnacle Foods acquisition is a positive, not a negative. I’d be a buyer right here."

Lightning round: Get your FactSet straight

In Cramer's lightning round, he rattled off his take on callers' favorite stocks:

FactSet Research Systems: “You’ve got smart money because I like that stock. I wish more people liked it. I’d put that in the fintech category. Boy, do people love fintech.”

Annaly Capital Management: “It’s got a big yield. It’s always had a big yield. That’s a good way to be able to make some money, but unfortunately, I find it very opaque and I can’t recommend any opaque stocks on this show. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of PepsiCo.

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