1) Decent loan growth at U.S. Bancorp and PNC Bank helped boost their bottom line. Regional banks dropped yesterday as Comerica, the first regional bank to report, reported weaker than expected loan growth. There was concern this could be a pattern.
That doesn't appear to be happening yet. USB and PNC both reported decent loan growth, with the former reporting in-line earnings per share. There There was year-over-year loan growth of roughly 5 percent, and modest sequential growth in Commercial & Industrial, commercial real estate, and mortgages. The results are not stellar, but at least consistent with their guidance.
For its part, PNC did even better. Year over year loan growth was roughly 7 percent, strongly outperforming its peers. By comparison, the industry as a whole has seen loan growth grow by roughly 3 percent.
In short, both PNC and USB are growing loans faster than their competitors.
This is significant, since banks have had notably outperformed in the past few months on the belief that: 1) interest rates are rising, and 2) that there will be modest growth in loans as the economy improves.
So far we have had a modest pickup in rates, yet not much loan growth. That makes the news from PNC and USB is welcome.
Bank of America, which has become the fifth large bank to beat earnings, reported modest loan growth of about 1.1 percent, though commercial loans were strong.
And if the rest of the industry doesn't get any loan growth? Well, look at Comerica.
2) Don't panic on housing yet. June housing starts, at 836,000, was 100,000 below estimates. Huh? Just looking at the headline, you might think that this will add fuel to the fire that rising rates are hurting demand.
But look more carefully: most of the miss was multifamily/apartment dwellings, which plunged 27 percent. This is considered a very volatile sector.
What matters is single family —and here permits rose to the highest level since May 2008. Elsewhere, the NAHB sentiment numbers were strong yesterday, the highest readings in over seven years.
3) another sign housing sales are strong: Realogy, the largest real estate company in the country, pre-released earnings ex-items of $1.03-$1.09, well above consensus of 67 cents. Equally important, Apollo Global will dispose of essentially all of its 25.1 million shares in a secondary offering. RLGY went public in October 2012 at $27 and is now trading over $50.
—By CNBC's Bob Pisani