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Much of Wall Street is worried that sliding oil prices could be a sign of global economic weakness, but CNBC's Jim Cramer offered a counter-theory on Friday as he prepared investors for the week ahead.
"I read the decline in oil as an issue of supply overwhelming demand, not demand waning," he said on "Mad Money." "When that happens, it's terrific for both consumers and for business. You're paying less at the pump; industry's paying less on the big bill."
Oil prices fell for their 10th consecutive trading session on Friday, cementing the longest losing streak for U.S. crude since mid-1984, according to Refinitiv data. On Thursday, Cramer said he could make a case for $40-a-barrel prices.
But considering the fact that the United States is producing 12 million barrels of oil a day, up significantly from past years, Cramer found it hard to believe that there was an issue with demand.
"I think lower oil actually creates a virtuous circle and that people are too negative. And it happened just like last time, where we learned ... that cheaper fuel is actually good for 90 percent of the S&P 500 as long as it's caused by excess supply, " he said.
"So what do you do with your portfolio? Nothing," he continued. "Let this nonsense play out. Get ready to buy some high-quality stocks of companies that benefit from lower oil. It worked last time and it's going to work again, provided the Fed figures out that inflation is going down, not up. There's no hurry."
With that in mind, Cramer turned to his game plan for the week ahead:
Chinese car-focused online platform Autohome will report earnings on Monday. Cramer will be looking for insight on the Chinese economy, which he's concerned could be hurt by the U.S.-China trade conflict and resulting tariffs and thus weigh on U.S. stocks.
"When China slows, that tends to freak out lots of global money managers, so it's important to know how the People's Republic is doing," he said. "The last time Autohome reported, it painted a grim picture of auto sales in China. You know what? I think it's gotten even worse. I'm regarding this company as giving us a key piece of data we need to understand the world mosaic of commerce."
Home Depot: Cramer-fave home improvement retailer Home Depot will issue its third-quarter earnings report on Tuesday. Shares of the company are down 30 basis points from their highs, which the "Mad Money" host called "incredibly unusual."
"Most investors have come to the conclusion that Home Depot should trade not with the soaring retail contingent, but with the sinking housing sector," he said. "I don't know what they can do to change the narrative. Sometimes, you just can't fight city hall."
Tilray: The world's largest publicly traded cannabis company will also report earnings, and while Cramer said its stock was too expensive at its current levels, he was curious about what Tilray's management would say on the conference call.
"I still want to hear what they have to say," he said. "We'll get our first real look at what's happened in Canada post-legalization. "
Macy's: On Wednesday, Wall Street will get quarterly results from Macy's. Shares of the department store operator sold off dramatically after its last report, and while the stock has recovered slightly, Cramer still wasn't exactly bullish.
"That last quarter makes me a bit gun-shy to tell you to go buy the stock," he admitted.
"I'm going to listen to commentary about how the Chinese are lowering prices for the goods Macy's buys that are subject to tariffs in order to keep their business in China," he continued. "We know that many apparel makers and retail operations are furiously trying to move their manufacturing away from China, ... and if the Chinese are starting to offer deals, then it's terrific news for the retailers ahead of the holiday season."
Canada Goose: Winterwear maker Canada Goose will also issue its quarterly earnings report.
"I've liked this apparel play for ages, even as I've lamented leaving the stock too soon," Cramer said. "I think Canada Goose is developing a worldwide business and it's doing it well. Might be worth owning for some speculation."
Cisco: Technology giant Cisco, led by Cramer-fave CEO Chuck Robbins, will share its fiscal first-quarter results with Wall Street after Wednesday's closing bell.
"I think that this internet-of-things tech titan is really starting to hit its stride as a safe, secure connector to all sorts of networks including the cloud," Cramer said. "I'm looking for a very good number augmented by the decline in price for a lot of the components they buy. If you can get it around these levels — because it really got hit badly [on Friday] — I think ... it's worth buying."
Walmart: Cramer awaited another great quarter from Walmart, which he said could be bolstered by online sales. He'll be listening for two things on the company's post-earnings conference call: tariff talk, as China is a major source of Walmart's merchandise, and comments on the state of the U.S. economy.
Applied Materials: Semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials will report earnings after the close on Thursday. The company's stock struggled amid sectorwide declines in the tech space in October.
"You could argue that the sell-off began when Applied Materials told us about a pause in demand ... back in early spring. Bulls would love to hear that the pause is over. I'm not going to give you that green light," Cramer warned.
Nvidia: Even though Cramer called Nvidia "my favorite in the space," he warned that the chipmaker's narrative could be "difficult" when it, too, reports earnings after Thursday's closing bell.
"I am concerned that Nvidia might flag that they could be facing a difficult product transition to a new set of chips that may be too advanced for today's markets. Well, that''s a high-quality problem, but it's a problem nonetheless," he said.
Nordstrom: The "Mad Money" host had "mixed emotions" about Nordstrom ahead of its next earnings report.
"The department store chain should be doing well, but its shares have just run up 20 [basis] points since ... the middle of May," he noted. "There's been a furious retail rally going on, so I say let's wait and see."
An understated media giant that has become one of Cramer's favorite companies, Viacom will report its latest earnings results on Friday.
"I think that Viacom's beginning to eclipse its sister company [CBS] when it comes to earnings momentum, " Cramer said. "I like what Viacom's been doing to monetize its intellectual property. Its cable offerings are actually doing much better than I think people realize and they are giving you Paramount, the fabulous onetime king of movies, for free."
Cramer acknowledged that worries about the Federal Reserve's rate hike agenda would underscore all of these reports, and that between the Fed tightening and the world's economy ostensibly slowing, investors have "plenty of reasons to sell."
Still, he asked investors to stay level-headed until the market gets more clarity on the economic layout.
"Here's the bottom line: when we see this entire mosaic of earnings reports, we should get a pretty good snapshot of whether the consumer is still as strong as she's been, but, of course, hopefully not so strong that the Fed feels the need to reiterate that it needs to burn down the economic village in order to save it," he said.
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Cisco and Viacom's Class B stock.