For Earnings, It’s the Same Story
China is back on stock investors' radar. I said yesterday China was getting attention. Overnight Hong Kong stocks have rallied for the 10th straight day, the longest win streak since 2006. The Hang Seng Index has now risen 4.3 percent in that period and is at a 52-week high.
Earnings: same story. Of eight large companies I have tracked that have reported earnings since the close yesterday, five have beat earnings, but six have missed revenue estimates. (Read More: Earnings Season Isn't All Bad News: Cramer.)
The story — once again — is that while earnings are coming in roughly in-line with expectations (flat), third-quarter revenues are coming in light, up only 1.3 percent. Tough to grow earnings with 1 percent revenue growth.
The fourth quarter is still expecting earnings growth of 8.4 percent and revenue growth of 3.9 percent, but these numbers have been coming down. (Read More: Apple Earnings to Sway Market Sentiment.)
1) Home builders: I like what I see. Two big builders out with earnings this morning. Ryland Group beat on both the top and bottom line. Order growth was 56 percent (!), revenue up 44 percent, gross margins up, average selling prices up about 4 percent, and lower incentives. Of all those positive points, lower incentives is perhaps the most important. It indicates the company believes demand is improving, and it will help margins.
At PulteGroup, earnings also beat, revenue just a bit light. Order growth was 27 percent (perhaps a little below what some had anticipated). Average selling prices were up about 6.5 percent year over year. "Although still well below historical levels, the U.S. housing market has realized a meaningful increase in the volume of new home sales for the first nine months of 2012," the company said.
2) Just a reality check on real estate. The flip side of New York's strong real estate market: foreclosure activity. We hear often how strong the New York real estate market is, with many foreign buyers snapping up high-end apartments. Here's the other side of the coin: New York City showed the biggest annual increase in foreclosure activity among the 20 largest metro areas, with an increase of 69 percent, followed by Tampa (43 percent) and Philadelphia (34 percent), according to RealtyTrac. This is notable, because overall foreclosure activity in the 212 metropolitan areas of the U.S. with a a population of 200,000 or more DECREASED in 62 percent of those areas. (Read More: Most Expensive Apartments in New York City.)
Why the big increase in New York? "Tells you the state of the financial industry," one trader commented. One note: While New York had the largest increase in foreclosure activity, the highest foreclosure rate in the country is in Stockton, Calif. (one in every 67 units with a foreclosure filing).
3) Executives from Campaign to Fix the Debt rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange this morning. They represent more than 80 CEOs who want action on the $16 trillion U.S. deficit, who believe that some combination of tax increases and and spending cuts similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan is the only feasible way of reducing the country's deficit. This includes the oft-used phrase "broaden the base," a catch-phrase for eliminating loopholes in the tax code.
Those ringing the bell:
• David Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell
• George Paz, Chairman and CEO, Express Scripts Holding Co.
• Nicolas Calio, CEO and President, Airlines for America
• Paul Stebbins, Chairman and CEO, World Fuel Services Corp.
• Daniel Glaser, Group President and COO, Marsh & McLennan Cos.
• Former Senator Judd Gregg, co-chair of the Campaign to Fix the Debt
• Steven Rattner, lead auto advisor in the U.S. Treasury Department under President Barack Obama, and Steering Committee member for the Campaign to Fix the Debt
—By CNBC's Bob Pisani; Follow Him on Twitter @BobPisani
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