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Cramer's game plan: Looking for improvement in a resilient market

Elizabeth Gurdus

With the market unexpectedly maintaining its strength in light of U.S. airstrikes in Syria , President Donald Trump's tense meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and a weak jobs report , Jim Cramer looked for how glimmers of positivity emerged from the noise.

First, the " Mad Money " host noted that the market prefers decisiveness to uncertainty, hence the positive response to Trump denouncing the use of chemical weapons and taking action.

Cramer attributed the soft response to the Labor Department's employment report to bad weather marring construction hiring and a newfound understanding that lost retail jobs are not because of slowing consumer spending, but Amazon's growing influence.

Finally, oil prices spiked on inflamed tensions in the Middle East. "I know it's counter intuitive to like higher rates and higher oil prices but these are signs, at least to some market participants, that the economy is still strong even as last month's hiring seems disappointing," Cramer said.

With the market's resilience in mind, here are the stocks and events on Cramer's radar next week:

Monday: Oil, rates, takeovers

The bulls are itching to see oil (New York Mercantile Exchange: @CL.1) break out of its $47 to $52 range into the $53 to $54 area, and would also do well to see the 10-year Treasury's (U.S.:US10Y) rates rise from 2.3 percent up to 2.4 or 2.5 percent.

Cramer also expects some takeover action in the biotechnology, consumer packaged goods, and oils sectors.

"I believe there are several European drug companies desperate to expand their pipelines and I expect them to start making deals in the near future. We know Kraft-Heinz (KHC) is ready to pull the trigger on a deal, [but] we don't know who it's going to be," he said. "And the amount of call option buying in the major independent oils with Permian exposure this week, it was extraordinary."

Tuesday: PMIs

Purchasing Managers' indices from China and the United Kingdom concern Cramer, because if China's is weak, leaders there could insist on stimulus via U.S. business involvement.

"That would be a sign that the Trump meetings with the Chinese president this week went very well," he said.

But post- Brexit inflation in the United Kingdom could push the country's central bank to raise rates, an effect that could spark worries going forward.

Wednesday: Mortgage applications, Delta, Mosaic

Mortgage applications: "We need to see some proof that April's started off better than March finished," Cramer said, and the first good indicator will come from mortgage application data.

"Have these new lows that we've seen in rates ... spurred any buying? Is the spring selling season, so important for housing, starting strongly? I think this number, actually, strangely, is going to be the most important number about what's going on right now in the economy," the "Mad Money" host said.

Delta (DAL): The airliner reports earnings ahead of market open, and Cramer is worried about the effects of a slowdown in travel, though he does not expect any major bombshells.

"Either way, I want you to keep in mind that Warren Buffett owns 8% of this airline's stock, and I generally like buying a Buffett stock if I can get it on weakness," Cramer said.

Mosaic (MOS): An analyst meeting at the fertilizer company, and Cramer expects a strong story and says some upgrades for the lagging agriculture play are possible.

"I would actually like to own the stock ahead of that meeting," Cramer said.

Thursday: Big banks, small banks, Taiwan Semiconductor

JPMorgan (JPM), Citigroup (NYSE: C), and Wells Fargo (WFC) will report earnings in the morning, and Cramer is paying attention to net interest margins, or the "free money" banks make from deposits, loan growth, which he hopes has not slowed from the first quarter, and expenses in the midst of regulatory rollbacks.

In the case of Wells Fargo, Cramer hopes to gauge whether the bank has evaded the cross-selling scandal for good.

Cramer is also watching smaller banks PNC (PNC) and First Horizon (FHN), as the companies' earnings could reveal whether commercial construction has slowed due to recent impasses in Washington.

Taiwan Semiconductor (Taiwan Stock Exchange: 2330-TW): If the chipmaker's earnings report shows that $171 billion company is spending, Cramer says investors should pick up shares of Lam Research (LRCX) or Applied Materials (AMAT), as they will be the direct beneficiaries of Taiwan Semiconductor's capital outflows.

Markets are closed on Good Friday, so Cramer suggests taking a breath before earnings season really kicks into gear the following week.

"[The] bottom line is that the average just keep staying resilient, and if you stick around, I'll explain the itchy fingers that may very well be behind this market's seeming inability to crater even when you expect it to just plain get obliterated," Cramer said.

Watch the full segment here:

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