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Sometimes the earnings of individual companies matter, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Tuesday after a weak market open yielding to a strong wave buying. But when it comes to Wednesday, all eyes will be on the Federal Reserve.
Cramer said today's markets initially sank due to the usual suspects, mainly fears about China, the Fed and oil prices. But then strong earnings from Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Report sent shares up 2.5%, causing investors to rethink the strong showing from Kimberly-Clark (KMB) - Get Report , sending those shares up 1.7%.
Impressive earnings from 3M (MMM) - Get Report and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report added 5.2% and 4.9% to those stocks respectively, while Apple (AAPL) - Get Report , a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, also met expectations.
Cramer said all of these earnings matter to the stock market, but only if the Fed issues a statement that acknowledges the market's recent turmoil. If the Fed continues with its "four rate hikes this year" mantra, no stock will be safe.
Off the Charts
In the "Off the Charts" segment, Cramer once again turned to colleague Carolyn Boroden for her latest read on the direction of markets.
Regular viewers of Mad Money will recall that Boroden correctly predicted the market's recent rally last week, as well as the market decline that began last May when the S&P 500 topped out at 2,134.
Boroden felt the recent rally will likely be short lived. She expects another 1% to 5% upside left in the S&P, and expects the rally to end 11 days after it began, which would be on Feb 4.
Longer term, Boroden felt the market's next move is still lower, as the Jan. 20 low of 1,812 did not appear genuine. The S&P's next levels of support are significantly lower at 1,350 and 1,225.
Cramer said he's paying close attention to Boroden's predictions given her recent track record of being spot-on.
Riding the Rails?
After declining for over a year, are the railroad stocks finally worth owning? Cramer took another look.
Cramer last checked in with the rails six months ago, issuing bearish warnings. Since then the stock of Norfolk Southern (NSC) - Get Report fell 19%, Union Pacific (UNP) - Get Report fell 27% and CSX (CSX) - Get Report has plunged 30%.
The issue with the rails has been declining coal and oil volumes. But as Cramer noted, the declines in these stocks has now exceeded the revenue from these categories, essentially valuing the coal and oil business at zero. For example, CSX derived 39% of its revenue from coal and oil in 2014, yet has seen its stock fall 42% from its peak. Norfolk Southern has also fallen 42%, yet derived only 34% of its revenue from coal and oil.
These rail stocks now represent value, Cramer proclaimed. CSX now trades at less than 12 times earnings, while Norfolk Southern trades at 12.4 times and Union Pacific at 12.7 times earnings, a five-year low.
Cramer said he'd be a buyer of these stocks on weakness, but is in no hurry. Norfolk Southern reports Wednesday, he said, and will likely send the group even lower, making another good entry point to start building a position.
Smith & Wesson Cools
Some patterns play out like clockwork over and over again, Cramer told viewers. Case in point: gun maker Smith & Wesson (SWHC) , which saw its shares rally 11% when the company dramatically raised its guidance in early January, only to see them decline over 18% in the following weeks.
Cramer said to fully understand this pattern, investors need to go back to the tragic San Bernadino shooting on Dec. 2. Sad as it may be, anytime there is a mass shooting in America, there are calls for new gun control laws, and that spurs a spike in gun sales. Eventually, these calls are met with fierce opposition and gun sales cool.
That's exactly what happened to Smith & Wesson, Cramer explained. As the company boosted its guidance on a surge of December sales. By January, however, those sales had returned to normal, sending shares down 18% to their pre-December levels.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer opined on whether the unsolicited takeover bid for Terex (TEX) - Get Report , which sent shares soaring 36.5%, is also good news for rival Caterpillar (CAT) - Get Report .
Cramer said that while Cat is arguably the best of breed player in the space, the company's outlook is not set to quickly rebound as it did after the financial crisis in 2008. Cat still has much of its sales from overseas, which means the strong U.S. dollar will be crimping its earnings for a long time to come.
Trading at just $59, the stock may look cheap at just 13 times earnings, but if the company's sales continue to erode to just $3.51 a share as some analyst expect then the stock is actually expensive at 17 times earnings.
Caterpillar's stock, Cramer concluded, is actually riskier as it goes lower, which is why investors need to steer clear.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AAPL.