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Next week begins the hard work of earnings season, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Friday. Earnings season is the only time the fundamentals of individual companies control the direction of the market, which is why his game plan for next week is all about earnings.
Monday begins with a speech from the Federal Reserve's Stanley Fischer. Cramer said the market will likely get hit on more talk of a December interest rate hike. But that might be the time to buy shares of Bank of America (BAC) on weakness. He is also a fan of Netflix (NFLX) over the long term, but not of IBM (IBM) until the company sees some top-line growth.
Wednesday brings more earnings from Abbott Labs (ABT) and Morgan Stanley (MS) , two more Cramer faves, along with American Express (AXP) . Cramer said American Express needs to get with the times, and he wants to hear what LAM Research (LRCX) has to say now that its merger was blocked.
Earnings keep on rolling for Thursday with American Airlines (AAL) , Illinois Toolworks (ITW) , Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) , and Verizon (VZ) all reporting, as well as Microsoft (MSFT) and Schlumberger (SLB) . Cramer preferrs Southwest Airlines (LUV) over American, but was bullish on Illinois Tool and Walgreens, an Action Alerts PLUS holding. He also thought Verizon was a steady stock with a 4.5% yield.
Finally on Friday, it's McDonald's (MCD) , General Electric (GE) , another Action Alerts name, and Honeywell (HON) in the earnings spotlight. Cramer said McDonald's has a beautiful balance sheet and GE, while challenged in the short term, is still a buy for the long term. As for Honeywell, Cramer said viewers can re-watch last night's show to see his interview with CEO Dave Cote.
Executive Decision: Louis Hernandez Jr.
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Louis Hernandez Jr., chairman and CEO of Avid Technology (AVID) , the software and services company serving the media industry. Shares of Avid saw gains in early 2016, only to give them all back over the past few months.
Hernandez said Avid is the software behind the largest media and film companies out there today and has built on its core technologies of editing and mixing audio and video to include the entire business of digital media production.
Hernandez continued that the transition to digital has been a rocky one, which makes predicting earnings from quarter to quarter a challenge. However, the long-term benefits of an all-digital workflow are significant for media companies of all sizes.
Avid products now span the entire digital media cycle, from creation to editing and mixing, to managing, storing and distributing content via social media.
Cramer said Avid is a small-cap company but is certainly worth looking into.
Everyone's Getting Hit
Be cautious if you're looking to invest in growth stocks, Cramer warned viewers, as both the senior and junior growth names have been getting hit hard by the short-sellers of late.
The same thing is true for smaller growth stocks like Twilio (TWLO) and Acacia Communications (ACIA) , both of which are seeing heavy short positions that have wrecked havoc on both companies' recent secondary offerings.
Executive Decision: John Cassimus
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with John Cassimus, the former CEO of Zoes Kitchen (ZOES) , to find out why nothing in the restaurant sector seems to be working, with such names as Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) down 44% and Fiesta Restaurant Group (FRGI) losing over 35%, just to name a few.
Cassimus said increased competition is to blame in the fast-casual restaurant space. There are simply more seats than diners, which is leading to increased discounting. Add to that the fact that household incomes are not rising and we're creating an environment where not everyone is going to make it, Cassimus said.
In the end, Cassimus predicted that only the strongest brands will win, along with those that are most adaptable to change. He said while Wall Street pounds the table for growth, growth and more growth, in reality those that grow slowly and carefully are the most successful.
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Off the Tape
In his "Off the Tape" segment, Cramer sat down with Shahrzad Rafiti, founder and CEO of the privately held BroadbandTV, the world's third-largest online video provider behind YouTube and Facebook (FB) .
Born in Iran, Rafiti said her passion has always been creating jobs and linking our next generation content network, the Internet, with the next generation of content creators. BroadbandTV currently receives over 18 billion video views every month.
Rafiti added she's also very interested in leveraging technology to solve big problems at scale and sees the next generation of deep learning being able to provide an emotional understanding of what humans are feeling.
To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC.
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