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Earnings Aren't Enough: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Friday 1/31/20)

Wall Street only has eyes for the coronavirus news, Jim Cramer says. And with the selloff likely to continue next week, he's got your defensive game plan.
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This is going to be a tough weekend for investors, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Friday. All eyes remain on the coronavirus, and until the epidemic is under control, even the best corporate earnings won't be enough to lift stocks. Cramer said it's still not too late to raise cash so you'll be able to buy when the bottom finally comes.

Cramer's game plan for next week starts on Monday with earnings from Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report. Here's a company with no exposure to China and is a great stay-at-home type stock.

Next, on Tuesday we hear from Clorox  (CLX) - Get Clorox Company (The) Report, a company that makes a product that kills almost everything -- bleach. We also hear from a company you'll want to avoid, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines  (RCL) - Get Royal Caribbean Group Report. Investors will also learn more about China from Emerson Electric  (EMR) - Get Emerson Electric Company Report and Walt Disney Co.  (DIS) - Get The Walt Disney Company Report, where the focus will likely be on theme park attendance. 

Wednesday brings earnings from Merck  (MRK) - Get Merck & Company Inc. Report and Grubhub undefined, both of which Cramer was bullish on, but also from General Motors  (GM) - Get General Motors Company Report and YUM China  (YUMC) - Get Yum China Holdings Inc. Report, which will likely be in the middle of the coronavirus blast zone.

Then on Thursday we hear from a Cramer favorite, Bristol-Myers Squibb  (BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report, which should update on its Celgene  (CELG) - Get Celgene Corporation Report acquisition. Estee Lauder  (EL) - Get Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (The) Report will also report earnings and Cramer expects sluggish sales. 

Finally, on Friday it's AbbVie  (ABBV) - Get AbbVie Inc. Report reporting and Cramer said to buy in if the market gets hit on coronavirus or Friday's non-farm payroll numbers.

Cramer and the AAP team are looking at everything from earnings and tariffs to the Federal Reserve. Find out what they're telling their investment club members and get in on the conversation with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts Plus.

The Defensive Team

On days like Friday, your portfolio needs a good defense, Cramer told viewers. That's why he reiterated that Clorox is the perfect stock to own when disinfecting and killing viruses are top of mind. He also recommended a food stock like JM Smucker  (SJM) - Get J.M. Smucker Company (The) Report. Smucker isn't levered to China, and after a few less-than-stellar quarters, Smucker is now playing catch-up to the rest of the market. 

Just like in football, your portfolio can also benefit from some "special teams" stocks that can save the day when you're in a bind. Cramer recommended stocks like Square  (SQ) - Get Block Inc. Class A Report, which has been inconsistent as of late, but still has a lot of potential for growth. He also suggested Evergy  (EVRG) - Get Evergy Inc. Report as another growth stock that could do well when times get tough due to the coronavirus.

On Real Money, Cramer keys in on the companies and CEOs he knows best. Get more of his insights with a free trial subscription to Real Money.

Too Many Wildcards

There are too many wildcards in the stock market right now, Cramer admitted to viewers. That means it's not safe to buy until the markets get more oversold and we have all of the facts. 

The coronavirus is one of the biggest wildcards at the moment. It's clear the Chinese initially covered up the outbreak and have mishandled its spread to other countries. But U.S. officials continual to praise China for their handling of the outbreak. Given the virus's two-week incubation period, we simply don't know how many people could be infected. 

Cramer reminded viewers that panic is never a strategy, but until we know how widespread this disease will get and whether we're going to see travel bans and other repercussions, it's too early to buy into declines like today. 

The only safe bets are stocks like food, soft drinks, snacks and anything that allows people to stay at home and wait out the virus.

Welcome to the Club

There's a new member of the trillion dollar market-cap club, and Cramer welcomed Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Inc. Report to the elite list that includes Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report and -- formerly --Alphabet. 

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Cramer called Amazon is a treasure, saying it deserves to be a lot higher than the higher than the 7.3% shares rallied Friday. The company announced it now has 150 million Prime members and its advertising and web services business continues to be on fire. 

But while Amazon made the list, Cramer couldn't help but notice the Exxon Mobil  (XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report, the largest company in the world three years ago, continues to wither in value. Fossil fuels are rapidly becoming the new tobacco on Wall Street, Cramer said, and money managers are selling them regardless of the outlook. 

Cramer said it's clear that electric cars from Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report are the future, while internal combustion engines are moving into the past. 

Cramer Does His Homework

In his "Homework" segment, Cramer followed up on a few stocks that had stumped him during earlier shows. He said that Inseego  (INSG) - Get Inseego Corp. Report, has become a stealth play on 5G wireless.

 The stock caught fire in November and rallied hard through January before seeing a sharp correction. Inseego is an intriguing company, Cramer said, and it has lots of opportunities. But at the moment, it's reliant on its biggest customer, Verizon  (VZ) - Get Verizon Communications Inc. Report, which makes it too risky until some of those other opportunities materialize.

Lightning Round

Here's what Jim Cramer had to say about some of the stocks that callers offered up during the Mad Money Lightning Round Friday evening: 

Anaplan  (PLAN) - Get Anaplan Inc. Report: "They're going a great job. That's a good company ." 

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp.  (GLDD) - Get Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation Report: "I like that company. That's a good one." 

Peloton  (PTON) - Get Peloton Interactive Inc. Report: "I think they should have a good quarter and a good story to tell." 

EBay  (EBAY) - Get eBay Inc. Report: "No, they were disappointing this quarter." 

Luckin Coffee  (LK) - Get Luckin Coffee Inc. Report: "I'd take a pass. I don't want you near it." 

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in GOOGL, CLX, DIS, BMY, ABBV, AMZN, AAPL, MSFT.