Citigroup chief U.S. equity strategist Tobias Levkovich said Ukraine is one of the many global risks hanging over stocks, but earnings are good enough to keep investors in the market this summer, and they will only get better.
"We've argued that the first half is going to be volatile…but we expect we'll do better in the second half as earnings growth improves," he said. The stocks of three big companies reporting after the bell Thursday were all higher—Amazon.com, Microsoft and Starbucks.
According to Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke, stocks followed the sell in May pattern two-thirds of the time. He said the average return in the November through April period, is about 3.5 times more than May through October.
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"Although the S&P 500 has been up in each of the last two years during summer months, this period has underperformed the winter period in each of the last four years, and 67 percent of the time since 1980," he wrote in a quick note.
Some of the earnings expected Friday are Ford, Weyerhaeuser, Tyco, American Electric Power and Goodyear Tire.
Levkovich expects to see first-quarter earnings growth of 3.8 percent, but he expects second-quarter growth to be nearly double at 7.4 percent. He sees growth of 6.7 percent in the third quarter and 8.7 percent for the fourth quarter.
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Thomson Reuters said consensus expectations for the 250 or so S&P 500 companies expected to report after Friday, as well as the results of companies that have reported would equal growth of about 3.9 percent.
"Over time, earnings matter big time," said Levkovich. He said in the period running up to 2013, the market was worried about Europe and the financial world was still stabilizing. But in 2013, stocks took off. "All you saw was the market catch up to the earnings it never paid for before."