Cramer: Be wary of stocks that rally into earnings reports, like Google-parent Alphabet did

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CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Monday said it’s “counterproductive” for stocks to rally into an earnings report. He pointed to Alphabet, among other stocks, to illustrate his case.

“A gentle dip ahead of earnings can be the best vaccination against a sell-off,” the “Mad Money” host said. When stocks, like Google’s parent, come in too hot, “that’s like a jet landing on an aircraft carrier that can often miss the decks and end up getting obliterated, as 3M did last week and Alphabet has done this very night. “

After reaching a new high of $1,296.97 in the session, shares of Alphabet plummeted nearly 8% in after-hours trading. The tech giant reported a first quarter earnings beat of $11.90 per share, compared with the expected $10.61. But, reported revenue of $36.34 billion fell below analysts’ projections of $37.33 billion.

Ahead of Monday’s close, the stock had run up nearly 10% in April. Cramer called it a “horrendous set up.”

“[It’s] another classic worst-case scenario, although the pattern of Alphabet’s stock is to get pummeled on earnings and then spend the next three months rallying until it gets pummeled on earnings again,” he said. “It’s the Sisyphus of modern growth stocks.”

Cramer said there was similar action in Intel’s run up ahead of its earnings call last Thursday, when the company revealed weaker-than-expected revenue expectations. The company’s data center and personal computer businesses did not perform well and the share price sank 9% in a day, he said.

“I don’t see Intel mounting a comeback any time soon, especially if their chief rival, AMD, tells a good story when it reports this week, ” Cramer said.

Nearly a third of all S&P 500 companies are set to report earnings this week. If a stock surges into the quarter and the earnings results turn out to be bad, investors could be set up for a tough decline, Cramer warned.

The major indexes on Monday all advanced. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added more than 11 points, the S&P 500 gained gained 0.11%, and the Nasdaq Composite moved 0.19%. The latter two averages both recorded new 52-week highs.

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Alphabet.

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