Earnings Look Good Through This Prism

 | Oct 17, 2013 | 6:50 PM EDT  | Comments
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Stock quotes in this article:

goog

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wfc

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jpm

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gs

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gs

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cmg

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ibm

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ebay

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xlnx

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unh

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jnj

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abt

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ko

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pep

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intc

What's with the sense that earnings season's been a drag?

Sure, IBM (IBM) was abysmal. Goldman Sachs (GS) didn't have enough fixed-income trading to make the numbers. EBay (EBAY) disappointed as did Xilinx (XLNX) and UnitedHealth (UNH). 

But JPMorgan Chase (JPM) gave you a terrific number. American Express (AXP) was stupendous, frankly. I thought Wells Fargo (WFC) wasn't perfect, but the market ate it up. That's three gigantic financials vs. Goldman. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Abbott (ABT) posted much-better-than-expected top and bottom lines. Coca-Cola (KO) wasn't that much to write home about, but the market didn't mind and it loved PepsiCo's (PEP) quarter. Sure, Xilinx was a bummer, but Intel (INTC), a much bigger company, delivered what the market wanted or it wouldn't be on the verge of breaking out.

And now tonight, Google (GOOG), up 5%, and Chipotle (CMG), up 10%, came through with numbers. This was a make-or-break quarter for Google because the company had said, after multiple quarters that didn't have growth, that this quarter would show you that the company can put up good numbers. It did. Chipotle's been flying high of late, which worried me that somehow it would disappoint. But the same-store sales numbers came through very strong.

I know there are numbers that show that we have had the most downside surprises in years, so far. But I think you need to look at three things to determine a downside surprise.

  1. Did the topline miss?
  2. Did the bottom line miss?
  3. Did the stock do nothing or go up anyway?

If you use that prism, so far, so very good.

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