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NEW YORK (
) -- Next week's game plan is all about jobs, Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Friday.
He said the markets will be honed in on Friday's unemployment data from the Labor Department, and everything from homes to retail, oil to industrials, will revolve around that number.
Cramer said the markets will need to see new jobless claims fall below 346,000 before it starts feeling good about itself again. He said the closer we get to that number, and the farther away we get from the dreaded 10% unemployment rate number, the better.
Until then, Cramer recommended investing in defensive names like
Procter & Gamble
, two stocks which Cramer owns for his charitable trust,
Action Alerts PLUS, along with
On Tuesday, Cramer said the markets will get another read on the health of the consumer when
report their earnings. He said the key metric to watch at Nike is its future orders, while at Darden it'll be same-store sales, which are estimated to be down 2.9% overall. Bad numbers from these two companies would reinforce a defensive stance, he said.
Also on Tuesday is
, said Cramer. If this company disappoints, it may take down rival and Cramer favorite
. Use any weakness in Flextronics to be a buyer, said Cramer.
Finally, Cramer said there are rumors that
might be making a big acquisition in Europe. News there would be good news for Abbott and good news for the markets overall.
In the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with John Faraci, chairman and CEO of
, for the latest read on the paper and container board markets, as well as the company's turnaround efforts.
Faraci said that International Paper took aggressive actions on its cost structure last year when it didn't see the economy improving, and that's helped the company immensely in staying profitable. He said while March appeared to be the low in the markets, and the spring got better, the summer months have been flat, giving them pause. "If there's economic activity out there, we'll see it," said Faraci.
When asked about the company's dividend, which was suspended last year, Faraci cautiously said the company is not out of the woods yet and won't reinstate a dividend until it sees improvements and pays down its debt.
Faraci did note some bright spots, such as the company's involvement in China, where he said the stimulus is working. He also noted lower interest rates has helped the company's financing efforts and low natural gas prices also have added to the company's bottom line.
Cramer said he's a believer in Faraci, and continued to recommend the stock.
Back on Track
For "Speculation Friday" Cramer returned to a stock he's hated for almost a decade,
( COMS). He said this forgotten network equipment supplier blew away the earnings estimates last quarter, and now demands a little attention.
Cramer said after years of underperforming competitors like rival
, a stock which Cramer owns for his charitable trust,
Action Alerts PLUS, 3Com is getting it's mojo back. He said at these levels, 3Com is cheaper than Cisco, and with the networking business on fire, the rising tide lifts all boats.
According to Cramer, 3Com has a lot going for it. Many data centers have put upgrades on hold this past year, a sign of pent-up demand for new equipment. There's also an increased need for bandwidth, said Cramer, as more people go mobile and watch video online. 3Com is a trade-down play, said Cramer, as many of the company's products are less expensive than their Cisco counterparts.
3Com is also expanding in China and is taking share away from Cisco in the process. The company has a great balance sheet, with $677 million in cash and only $200 million in debt, said Cramer. 3Com is also under covered by Wall Street, leaving lots of room for upgrades. Cramer said after years and years of disappointment, 3Com is once again attractive.
Cramer told a viewer that he's worried that he government may interfere with
ability to make money, and that's why he prefers
for a health care play.
Cramer told a second viewer that he's still bullish on
Select Medical Holdings
, and would buy it under $10 and hold it for about a month for around a 10% gain.
Cramer was bullish on
Fuel Systems Solutions
He was bearish on
Corrections Corp. of America
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At the time of publication, Cramer was long General Mills, Cisco, Visa.
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