Traders want to know what's really driving earnings growth—creative accounting or true revenue expansion—veteran trader Art Cashin told CNBC on Monday as Wall Street braces for a deluge of earnings reports.
About 150 companies listed on the S&P 500 report quarterly results this week. Cashin said big bellwethers such as Google and IBM didn't set the tone when they released earnings last week as the S&P had its best weekly performance since July. That's because "confusion" has marked most of earnings season so far, Cashin said.
"Earnings have kept up, but it's been mostly financial engineering," Cashin said on "Squawk on the Street." "Revenues have not really done a heck of a lot of anything."
Instead, traders will most likely wait until the middle of this week to fully digest this round of earnings, said Cashin, UBS' director of floor operations at the NYSE. He said the market's reaction to tensions in Ukraine has been muted so far, and he expects Monday's trading session to follow suit.
European markets remained closed for the Easter holiday, Cashin noted. He advised investors to watch the 1,869 to 1,874 level as a resistance band on the S&P 500.
—By CNBC's Jeff Morganteen.