It's a miserable game of bridge where the companies are no trump and oil is trump and Trump is what matters to the overall market.
After you have sorted out all of those Trumps you have to understand that while the market opened higher because of the triumphs of individual companies, it went south when oil went lower and oil has become the arbiter of the way stocks trade.
Now this isn't the first time. The rolling stock crash at the beginning of January 2016, which culminated with oil dipping to the $20s, then a sign of Chinese weakness, showed how powerful the S&P futures linkage was to stocks. In retrospect there were some actual repercussions -- a handful of oil companies went belly-up -- but the Chinese economy picked up so the correlation was ephemeral and false.
Today we see the same thing. We got not one, not two, but three Dow stocks that had simply breathtaking earnings and it didn't matter. The market wanted to go lower, meaning that the futures came like waves and knocked over the companies themselves, like sand castles trying to defend themselves when the tide's coming in.
I found it remarkable that terrific results from IBM (IBM) , a huge tech concern, Procter & Gamble (PG) , the king of packaged goods and United Technologies (UTX) , a broad conglomerate that includes aerospace, residential and commercial climate controls as well as an elevator company, could mean so little in the face of the linkage from oil to the S&P. It's like it doesn't matter how well corporate America does if the report card comes the same day as a breakdown in oil which, like back in 2016, is linked to China except this time it's China as in the trade talks with China.
Oh and lets' throw in the results from another stock, Comcast (CMCSA) , which at one point was up two points off a truly amazing quarter with true greenfield growth from Sky, but ended up giving up half that gain on the altar of oil.
Yep, none of these stocks can withstand the gravitational pull. At the same time, what's equally unnerving is that the stocks that are most levered to the cost of fuel, stocks we should have been worried during the 25% run-up since the year began, should theoretically get a nice bottom line benefit. But those stocks, chiefly the transports but also the cruise lines and the restaurants that are casual dining oriented, should be the winners. It is zero sum. But that's not happening either.
The whole thing is a bit ridiculous but that's what happens when the futures overwhelm the stocks because President Trump has not yet arrived at a deal with the Chinese which, theoretically, would ignite oil as world growth steps up and then takes all of the good stocks -- and the bad -- with it in a mindless triumph of sector asset class over the asserts that make up the sector.