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Beware of After-Hours Trading

Next week some of Cramerica’s most important companies are going to report their earnings after the bell. Cramer knows many of investors will try to “chase” them after hours, without enough information, and he urged them not to do it. There’s just too much potential for them to get hurt.

“I used to call after-hours trading the Wild West,” Cramer said, “because there are no rules.”

More than that, though, headlines tend to drive stock prices once the market is closed. Consider some of the restaurant stocks from Thursday night, such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill. BWLD’s disappointing quarter pulled the other two right along with it, as investors panicked over what they saw as a “fast-food epidemic.”

But that was a mistake. A closer look at Panera and Chipotle earnings showed that business was strong. And that’s why Panera rallied this morning and analysts raised their price targets on Chipotle .

This is the reason Cramer recommends that investors wait before buying in situations like these. It’s better to wait and find out how the company is really doing, rather than trade on headlines. With that in mind he laid out his Game Plan for the coming week.

On Tuesday, Whole Foods will be reporting. What we want from WFMI is same-store growth sales and how much, if any, the shopping trade-down by consumers has hurt the company.

Chesapeake Energy holds its announcement on Wednesday. The Mad Money host is interested in drilling costs and new finds. Also reporting that day is Agnico-Eagle Mines . Cramer will be watching its costs too, namely how much money is needed to extract each ounce of gold from the ground.

Then on Thursday the coal machinery play Bucyrus International will release its numbers. But what management has to say about China will be more important than BUCY’s earnings.

And lastly First Solarwill report on Thursday as well. Cramer wants to know how much it is making on each solar panel and whether the government has an appetite to subsidize the difference between solar and traditional power.

Want to avoid losing money in after-hours trading? Then avoid the practice entirely, Cramer said.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

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