President Donald Trump's calculated comments on China triggered an afternoon rally, but investors should be wary about China's reaction next week, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Friday.
Trump announced Friday afternoon that the U.S. is looking into revoking special trade treatment for Hong Kong, an autonomous territory, in response to a controversial security law that China is pushing through to clamp down on political protest. Trump, however, did not pull out of a phase one trade deal he signed with his Chinese counterpart earlier this year.
"This is a bad time for an escalation into [a] trade war," Cramer said on "Mad Money." "Right now, our economy's struggling and any kind of retaliation from China will make it even more difficult for us to recover."
The Dow Jones clawed back some of its losses on the day to close down more than 17 points, or 0.07%, at 25,383.11. The S&P 500 finished the day up 0.48% at 3,044.31, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.29% to 9,489.87.
Cramer said he presumes that China will escalate the situation next week and he is concerned about ratcheting up trade tensions between the world's two largest economies given the feeble state of the U.S. economy. The hard-line stance makes sense when the economy is thriving, not when the country is grappling with historic unemployment levels, he said.
"Without a second round of stimulus from Congress, you need to stick with the safety-first trade — the recession stocks [and] the stay-at-home winners," Cramer said. "But with a new trade war with China heating up, you might want to leave a little room to buy more of the recession-proof and cost-saving technology companies on the way down."
The stock expert went on to present his game plan for the week ahead. All numbers are based on Factset estimates.
Zoom Video Communications reports first-quarter earnings for its 2021 fiscal year after the market closes.
"The expectations going into the quarter are pretty high" and "you should think of Zoom as a market cap story, not an earnings story," Cramer said. "With that rapidly growing user base, soon to be improved by 5G, I'm betting this company is worth more than the current $50 billion valuation."
Crowdstrike reports results from its fiscal 2021 first quarter after the closing bell.
Campbell Soup reports fiscal third-quarter results before the market opens.
"I say this new CEO, Mark Clouse, he's changed things up with better product and much better execution — best that I've ever seen this company run in my lifetime," Cramer said. "That's why I think Campbell Soup ... is a buy, especially with the health crisis morphing into an economic crisis. It's a classic recession stock."
J.M. Smucker reports fourth-quarter earnings for the 2020 fiscal year before the morning bell.
"It's a catch-all agglomeration of coffee, dog food, peanut butter and jams, but the line extensions are working," Cramer said. "More importantly, a weak economy is a fantastic backdrop for Smucker's stock."
Broadcom has an earnings report for the second quarter coming out after the closing bell.
"The stock's had such a run, and we've got this China stuff," he said. "Maybe you wait until after it reports, because it's run up so much."
Gap reveals first-quarter numbers from its 2020 fiscal year after the market closes.
"This one might seem like a tempting value play, but that would be a mistake," he said.
Slack Technologies reports fiscal 2021 first-quarter results in the afternoon.
"Slack makes it easy to coordinate work documents, but the stock still has a ton of skeptics because it competes with Microsoft," he said. "Right now, Slack has the edge — they practically invented this business — and I bet its stock can rally after the quarter."
DocuSign reports first-quarter earnings for the 2021 fiscal year post market.
"This is a company that's tailor-made for the current moment," he said.
"I bet these numbers will come as a shock to investors who still believe we're merely going through a speed bump on the way to a V-shaped recovery," Cramer said. "I believe the employment number will throw cold water all over the V thesis, if not drown it entirely."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Broadcom.