What's Truly Amazing About this Market

 | Apr 26, 2013 | 9:35 PM EDT  | Comments
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Now, think about it.

Think about who has disappointed this quarter. First, obviously, there is Apple (AAPL), with a quarter that is now regarded as the benchmark of bad quarters with the most downgrades and price target cuts of any this year.

Apple used to be the largest-market-capitalization company there is, before passing the torch back to ExxonMobil (XOM), which, yes, reported the worst quarter so far of any oil company.

Then there is IBM (IBM), the bellwether tech company of the Dow Jones with a hugely-disappointing report that drove the stock down 22%, or 10% in a couple of days' time.

Or how about Amazon.com (AMZN)? Is there a more-important retailer save Wal-Mart (WMT) out there? I don't think so, and yet its report struck people as sorely wanting and the stock got pummeled for almost $20.

Or 3M (MMM), one of the cornerstone industrials out there, which reported a heavily-disliked quarter and then gave you a forecast cut that sent shudders down peoples' spines; spines of those who are used to this company's consistent earnings growth. It got dinged again today after being clipped hard on Friday's report.

Then there's AT&T (T), the largest phone company, which gave you a quarter that sent the stock down the hardest I can ever recall it getting hit in one day. Just a nasty decline for the $200 billion behemoth and the commentary made you feel that there's no real growth there at all.

But it wasn't as horrid as the quarter Procter & Gamble (PG), the one that dropped the stock to $76 from $82 before it stabilized today. Procter, at $200 billion, is the largest consumer-products company out there and it was just a nasty report.

How about our two biggest chip companies, Intel (INTC) and Qualcomm (QCOM)? We understood that Intel missed. It is too linked to personal computers. But Qualcomm is Mr. 4G. It is supposed to be perfect. Two more $100 billion companies that blew the quarter.

Did you see the reaction, the miserable reaction to GE's (GE) quarter? It fell to $21 from $23 because the company's earnings growth decelerated as the quarter went on and Europe weakened badly. The most-high-profile earnings miss and another $200 billion company that let us down.

United Technologies (UTX) is still going down after a reporting a quarter that many felt was light with Europe and sequestration called out for the reasons for weakness. That's an $80 billion multinational we are talking about.

The largest health-maintenance operation in the country, Dow-Jones-component United Health (UNH) missed hugely and reminded us that there's still plenty of risk to a health care play that's supposed to be winning in the new regime. Oops!

Nobody cared for the numbers from Bank of America (BAC), JPMorgan (JPM) or Wells Fargo (WFC), the three-largest financials as worries about net interest margins and fretting about slower mortgage originations knocked back all of these stocks. Bank of America's numbers, once again, couldn't be fathomed and it seems more like a law firm, at times, than a bank, it has so many suits against it. At least their quarters weren't viewed as light as the two-largest-independent security brokers, Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS), which still haven't regained their footing. 

Did anyone slash their forecast more visibly that Caterpillar (CAT)? Talk about missed earnings, the largest manufacturer in the Dow totally failed to deliver.

Two of the largest food purveyors in the world, McDonald's (MCD) and Starbucks (SBUX) reported what looked to be terrific numbers, but when you dove underneath the hood you saw some real weak comparable-sales numbers around the globe for McDonald's and critics chose to emphasize a gross-margin issue in China that reversed the stock in after hours. They were both labeled disappointing.

And what happened after all of this? What happened after Apple, Exxon, IBM, Amazon, MMM, AT&T, Procter & Gamble. Intel, Qualcomm, General Electric, United Technologies, United Health, JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Caterpillar,  Mcdonald's and Starbucks disappointed?

How about we challenged the all-time highs? How about we flirted all week with taking them out? How about a rally that has us up double digits?

You see, this is what is truly amazing about this market. If you didn't know any better you would think that we would be down hugely from those. But there are just too many other smaller companies that are taking up the slack.

I think this is amazing. The biggest, the most important, the most-visiblecompanies have done poorly, and yet the market hasn't skipped a beat.

Which explains the absurdity if why it is such a hated market, even as it keeps knocking on the door of the all-time-highs list.

Now, to me, there's only one way to look at this. If this market can go higher without these companies, what happens if they don't disappoint?

Hmm, maybe that's what the market's trying to day because if you shorted it on the basis of ANY or ALL of these huge companies quarters, you are losing, not making, any money.

And that's all that matters in the end.

Columnist Conversations

Just some resistance to be aware of. Not saying it will cap the market, just that it is there for a decision....
Shares of Amazon (AMZN) are trading down below the 50% retracement level of their 2014 range in the after-hour...
Conclusion LNKD has a strong upward trend in revenue, has maintained very high gross margin % even as revenues...
Kass:
On the weaker than expected #s. From $143 to $106.

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