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  Friday, 14 Jul 2017 | 11:24 AM ET

Earnings were good, so here's why bank stocks are down

Posted ByBob Pisani
A pedestrian carries an umbrella while walking along Wall Street past the New York Stock Exchange in New York.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A pedestrian carries an umbrella while walking along Wall Street past the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

Banks are beginning to report earnings. All four banks reporting (JP Morgan, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and PNC) beat earnings expectations and all but Wells Fargo beat on the topline.

So why are they all trading down Friday?

There's two issues: fundamental and seasonal.

First, the soft economic data we saw Friday — retail sales, but particularly the Consumer Price Index — clearly lowered the chances for a Fed rate hike later in the year. That brought down Treasury yields, which is lowering the chances for increased profits from one of the primary profit centers for banks — interest income.

Less well-known is a seasonal phenomenon: Banks tend to trade up in the month before JPMorgan's earnings report, trade slightly down on the day of the report and are generally flat in the month after.

Here are the results for banks (represented by the SPDR KBW Bank ETF KBE) since 2010 in the month before JPMorgan reports earnings, the day of, and a month after:

Banks and earnings
(KBE)

One month before JPM: up 1.0%
Day of: down 0.1%
One month after: down 0.3%
Source: Kensho

Note that even a month after JPMorgan reports, banks tend to be down slightly (down 0.3 percent), while the S&P 500 is typically up 0.5 percent.

Bottom line: Expect some downward earnings revisions on second half bank earnings around lower interest income, but factor in the seasonal weakness as well.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal, parent of CNBC, is a minority investor in Kensho.

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  Friday, 14 Jul 2017 | 7:00 AM ET

Investors expect these stocks to carry the load this earnings season

Posted ByBob Pisani
  Friday, 7 Jul 2017 | 3:08 PM ET

Cybersecurity stocks rally as global hackings start to impact corporate bottom lines

Posted ByBob Pisani
  Thursday, 6 Jul 2017 | 4:39 PM ET

Stock traders are very leery of this recent rise in rates

Posted ByBob Pisani

Rates are rising all over the world. In the last couple of weeks, the U.S. 10-year yield has risen to an eight-week high, Germany's 10-year bonds are at 18-month highs, Japan's are at five-month highs, France'sat seven-month highs.

It's moving stocks. Banks are on the rise. The main bank ETF (KBE) is at the highest level since March. Interest rate sensitive sectors like real estate investment trusts have been lower.

What's going on? Investors are trying to get ahead of a change in central bank policies around the world. We have had 10 years of unconventional policies that are slowly coming to an end. The Fed is already raising rates, and while neither the Japanese nor the ECB are raising rates, it's clear they are considering reversing their policies of buying bonds and stocks, in the case of Japan.

Is this a recipe for disaster? Not at this pace, but it's being watched carefully. The rise is not very great. Even the 10-year at 2.38 percent is only 20 basis points higher than a few weeks ago. That's a very modest rise, and the cost of funding is not changing prohibitively. It's a sign of strength that central banks are more comfortable with higher rates.

It's true, nobody is raising rates aggressively. This move is in anticipation of something more aggressive happening. The Fed minutes, released Wednesday, clearly indicated the Fed is not wedded to an aggressive rate hike schedule. And what about those who say raising rates, even if modestly, when the economy is only fair is a bad idea? Is 2.25 percent GDP growth great? Not really. But it's better than the 1.75 percent we've seen recently. And European growth prospects certainly have improved.

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  Wednesday, 5 Jul 2017 | 7:03 AM ET

Early indications point to a surprisingly strong second-quarter earnings season

Posted ByBob Pisani

We might be in for a big surprise when it comes to second quarter earnings.

It's early — only two dozen companies (about 5 percent of the S&P 500) have posted earnings for the period, but the results from the early reporters like Nike, Oracle and Darden have been surprisingly strong.

Profits from those 23 companies are up nearly 12 percent from the second quarter of last year, according to Nick Raich, who follows the markets as the Earnings Scout — continuing the earnings rebound that began at the end of last year. But revenues for those companies are up 8.5 percent, with nearly 90 percent exceeding estimates, far above normal.

For Raich, the revenue turnaround is the big story: "It's not just cost cutting any more. One of the bear arguments has been that what little earnings growth we have seen has been cost cutting and buybacks. But if you have revenue growth, it takes away a lot of the bear argument. And it shows you business activity has improved."

Indeed, the bottom for earnings and revenue for the S&P was the first quarter of 2016, and we have been steadily improving since then.

But 5 percent is a small sample — what about the 95 percent that have not yet reported? Earnings estimates for those companies are not being reduced nearly as much as in prior quarters.

Earnings estimates typically come down as we go through a quarter, but this time estimates for the entire S&P 500 are only 2 percent lower than they were at the start of the quarter in April, according to FactSet. That is well below the usual reduction of about 4 percent.

"This tells me analysts are more optimistic than usual," John Butters of FactSet told me.

Raich concurs: "It's a sign most of these companies are comfortable with the estimates. Otherwise, they would have guided down more aggressively."

As for the third quarter, which we have just started, the early signs are also positive, as estimates are also holding up better than expected. Right now, according to Raich, 43 percent have seen their third-quarter estimates go higher for the period. That's the highest level in five years.

Of course, there are outliers, and for those, analysts have been quick to take down numbers. Take Bed Bath & Beyond, which had its third-quarter earnings estimates reduced by analysts nearly 7 percent after the company reported "increased softness in transactions in stores, as well as higher net-direct-to-customer shipping expense, coupon expense and advertising costs during the quarter."

Homebuilder Lennar beat its earnings estimates after it reported on June 20, but analysts overall reduced third-quarter estimates as many noted that valuations were stretched and there may be limited upside to housing after several years of strong growth.

But they are in the minority. Earnings season doesn't really start until July 14, when JPMorgan and Wells Fargo report, but Raich is encouraged by what he sees.

"It's a small sample, but it's a really good start," he said.

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  Friday, 30 Jun 2017 | 12:06 PM ET

ETFs in the first half: Records across the board

Posted ByBob Pisani

About Trader Talk

  • Direct from the floor of the NYSE, Trader Talk with Bob Pisani provides a dynamic look at the reasons for the day’s actions on Wall Street. If you want to go beyond the latest numbers— Bob will tell you why the market does what it does and what it means for the next day’s trading.

 

  • Bob Pisani

    A CNBC reporter since 1990, Bob Pisani covers Wall Street from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

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