Earnings a mix of the good and bad, yet not so ugly
Thus far, second quarter earnings have put in a mixed showing. Not great, but at least not the horror show some analysts were warning about a few short weeks ago.
First, the good news: financials have, for the most part, been excellent. Morgan Stanley makes it six in a row for wins in the big financials. Regional banks Fifth Third and KeyCorp both did OK. Key had one percent loan growth quarter over quarter, perhaps as good as you can expect; meanwhile, Fifth had strong growth in mortgage banking, loan growth was also up a percent.
Elsewhere, we've seen very mixed results in technology earnings. On the positive front, IBM did what almost no one has done so far: raise 2013 guidance, to $16.90 from $16.70. Ok, admittedly it's only a slim one percent but it's still a raise—and if they hit $16.70 they will still pull off a 10 percent earnings increase from 2012. That's impressive!
Yet if you want any proof that the cloud is eating into hardware sales for big companies, look no farther than the same IBM bottom line: hardware sales are down 12 percent (yikes!). Software was up 4 percent, and services (the old growth engine) has down 4 percent...looks like software is the new services, no?
Elsewhere in tech land, Intel's warning on sales (they cut their 2013 sales outlook to flat) is perhaps not surprising, given that two-thirds of its business is in the PC space. SAP, IBM's software rival, was also light, based on weakness in Asia.
Financials and techs predominate, but we are also starting to get in industrials — with mixed results.
Dover is one of the first multi-industry industry companies to report; they are a good gauge of the sector given the many products they sell to many industries all over the world. Think energy, refrigeration, fluids. Anyway, they beat and raised guidance for the year, to $5.56 - $5.71 against prior guidance of $5.05 - $5.35: impressive indeed.
Johnson Controls, which offers car batteries and seats, also beat, but they narrowed their full year guidance, to $2.64 - $2.66, from $2.60-$2.70. Also, they are selling HomeLink, a vehicle-based control system.
In home products, Sherwin Williams was short on both top and bottom line, with guidance for the current quarter falling below expectations. That is a disappointment, as the stock has been strong on expectations the home improvement market would continue to be strong.
So let's call it a mixed bag so far. One other positive point: fewer companies are missing on the topline. Of the 15 major companies that reported this morning, only 5 missed on the topline, much better than at the start of the first quarter, when more than half routinely missed.
1) Another home builder IPO. Northern California builder UCP (UCP) priced 7.75 million shares at $15, the low end of the range. This is the third home builder to go public this year, with mixed results. In April, Taylor Morrison Homes priced at $22 and is now trading at $25 and change; in January William Lyon Homes (WLH) priced at $25 and is currently trading at $24.
—By CNBC's Bob Pisani