After a weeklong break from television, CNBC's Jim Cramer returned to his evening investment education show on Monday to give a preview of the earnings reports to come.
The "Mad Money" host warned that Wall Street is in a tough spot, with the big banks set to report results starting Tuesday.
"If the banks can rally, then maybe we've gone 'through the looking glass,'" he said. "If the banks get hammered, things could get ugly."
The comments came after the S&P 500 — which collapsed alongside the other major indexes earlier this year as the coronavirus outbreak took hold around the globe — managed to trade in positive territory during the trading session. But that proved to be ephemeral as the broad index ended up sliding nearly 1% at the close.
After making big gains early on, the Dow Jones finished up about 10 points, or 0.04%, at 26,085.80, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.13% to 10,390.84 as a rally in big tech stocks lost its luster later in the day.
The market rose as traders ignored a continued surge in new positive Covid-19 diagnoses across the country. Additionally, Pfizer and BioNTech shares surged after their Covid-19 vaccine candidates received "fast track" recognition from the Food and Drug Administration.
"This is the week when we find out if the real world is going to intrude on the stock market world, and that's what happened today, but tomorrow's the big test," Cramer said.
He went on to present what's circled on his calendar this earnings week. All projections are based on Factset estimates:
"I don't know if JPMorgan's results will be good enough to offset those of Wells Fargo," Cramer said. "I think we'll hear a lot about bad loans from both of them, though JPMorgan has the balance sheet and diversification to handle the pain."
"They've got a ton of personal loans and oil loans," he said. "No wonder they had to cut the dividend, but it is run by Charlie Scharf. He's going to figure it out."
"Now that Citi's had to suspend its incredible buyback, you've lost the best reason for owning this darned stock," he said. "It's cheap, but it could easily stay cheap."
"The Robinhood crowd, they love the airlines, even as passengers seem to hate them. Will Delta need more help from the government?" he said. "If they say no ... you might want to buy American Airlines, which needs the most help, but only for a trade, please."
"I think they're going to blow away the numbers," Cramer said. "This market's a trader's paradise, which should allow an investment bank like Goldman to put up a remarkable quarter from all that great firepower they've got on the trading desk."
"This pandemic's been fabulous for the managed care space because all sorts of expensive surgeries keep being postponed," he said. "That could lead to a huge quarter, but the conference call spells out the future" and the future could be "murky."
"They almost always report excellent numbers driven by their top-notch digitization strategy, but it never seems to matter," Cramer said. "The stock hasn't been able to rise above the rest of the group. No reason this time should be different."
"Morgan Stanley can talk about their merger with E-trade," he said. "I think it works for the same reasons Goldman does — almost no collateralized loan exposure."
"They have a terrific pipeline, and they're super-focused on Covid," he said. "I bet they have a great quarter, but it might not matter, because this stock ran up hard today."
"Perhaps the most important report of the week is … Taiwan Semiconductor, and that's because it has a huge amount of business with Apple," he said.
"I think they tell a good story, as contactless delivery is the safest way to eat," he said.
"I think of Netflix as a worldwide entertainment service that's essential in the age of Covid-19. However, management tends to be pretty self-effacing," he said. "I would like Netflix into weakness."
"This is a great regional bank, it is a top-notch franchise, it's in one of the strongest areas ... and it has branches all over the South," Cramer said. "It's amazingly well-run, and yet the stock sells for just seven times earnings and it sports a massive 6% yield."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Apple and Johnson & Johnson.