Cramer's game plan: Between the Fed, China and Apple, get ready for more volatility

  • CNBC's Jim Cramer says panic will reign on Wall Street if the Federal Reserve chooses not to raise interest rates in December.
  • The "Mad Money" host will keep an eye on earnings reports from Dave & Buster's, Costco, and more.

Investors should prepare themselves for more stock market swings as a host of "difficult crosscurrents" weigh on equities, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Friday as stocks traded lower.

"Now that the S&P 500 has gone negative for the year, let me give you one warning: I think we're going to have to slog through these volatility sessions for a bit," Cramer, host of "Mad Money," told investors.

"There are all sorts of difficult crosscurrents here: the trade war with China, the stunning weakness in stocks like bellwether Apple, which got a price target cut from the most influential analyst in the stock, Katy Huberty — it is now down for the year — and, of course, an errant Federal Reserve that's backed itself into a corner when it comes to the next rate hike," he said.

Any developments on these complicated issues have the power to sway entire market groups, so Cramer recommended that investors stay vigilant in this challenging layout.

"Get used to these crosscurrents, because this is the new normal, at least for now," he said.

With that in mind, here's Cramer's game plan for the week ahead:

Monday: Stitch Fix

Online personal shopping service Stitch Fix will report earnings on Monday, and Cramer will be keeping a close eye on the company's results.

"E-commerce has become one of the most volatile areas in this market. I'm always trying to get a feel for it. Why? Because it's a huge driver of the new economy," he said.

"Stitch Fix crashed into a retaining wall at 60 miles an hour the last time it reported, [with the] stock losing a third of its value in the same day," he continued. "If Stitch Fix can turn itself around, that's good news for the e-commerce cohort."

Tuesday: Dave & Buster's

On Tuesday, investors will get a glimpse into the state of the experiential economy when Dave & Buster's reports its quarterly results.

"Dave & Buster's is also a terrific gauge of consumer spending, which, frankly, needs to stay strong here or else the economy is in real trouble," Cramer said. "I'm going to be listening to that conference call."

Wednesday: Under Armour analyst meeting

An Analyst Day at sports apparel maker Under Armour will tell Cramer if it's time for investors to ring the register on the company's stock, which the "Mad Money" host began recommending when shares were still in the low teens.

"I bet CEO Kevin Plank tells a terrific story," he said. "I want to hear about the state of apparel and footwear both here and in China."

Thursday: Starbucks analyst meeting, Ciena, Costco

Starbucks: The coffeemaker's Analyst Day will be nothing less than a "lovefest," but an educational one, Cramer said. He'll be on the lookout for newsmaking events, employee benefit upgrades and other special initiatives.

"Starbucks is on a roll right now and I expect CEO Kevin Johnson will give us a road map for a return to robust growth in the United States," Cramer said. "The company's putting up some excellent numbers in China, too. Let's see if they can keep it up, even with the escalating trade tensions."

Ciena: Telecommunications equipment maker Ciena reports earnings on Thursday. Cramer wants insight into the ongoing rollout of fifth-generation wireless communications, also known as 5G, as well as the state of Ciena's Chinese competitors.

Costco: Wholesaler Costco may have a difficult time when it reports earnings after Thursday's closing bell, Cramer warned. Still, he was eager to hear the retailer's insight on e-commerce and competition in the food segment.

"This is a situation where no matter how good things are, no matter how good the numbers come out, I doubt it can move the needle because the stock's already run," he said. "This week Costco gave us some spectacular November same-store sales figures, up 9.2 percent. I was looking for 5.4 percent. I don't see how they can top that number."

Friday: Centene analyst meeting

The "Mad Money" host expected health insurance giant Centene's analyst meeting to be "excellent" as the government-sponsored health-care provider continues to win new states and contracts.

"I expect a darned good story," Cramer said. "That whole segment, by the way, of the market, along with the hospital group, has really held up better than just about anything else because it does so well in a slowdown, which is what people are now worried about: a Fed-induced slowdown."

WATCH: Cramer's game plan for a potentially wild week

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

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