Behind the Money

BEHIND THE MONEY: Most Surprising Earnings Season Ever

Since earnings season began with Alcoa's report on July 8, the S&P 500 has rocketed off a short-term low by 11 percent.

The Dow average just closed out its strongest 2-week span since 2000. And before Friday, the Nasdaq had risen for 12 straight days.

If you've been surprised by these moves, it is with good reason. The earnings season thus far is the most surprising on record. With 184 of the S&P 500 members in the books, 77 percent of those companies reported earnings that surpassed analysts' estimates, according to Thomson Reuters.

If this final percentage holds, it will be the highest 'surprise' percentage for a quarter since Thomson began tracking the information in 1994.    

Surprised investors are chasing this market and using any temporary pullback to get back in, according to FM trader Pete Najarian.

Hence why we've seen a lot of mid-day reversals higher over this span. Raymond James Strategist Jeffrey Saut notes that  money market funds still makes up 36 percent of market capitalization. With that kind of cash on the sidelines, the rotation into stocks could continue for a while, even with temporary "overbought" pullbacks here and there, according to the FM traders.        

"I've never seen a market like we've seen" recently,  said Steve Grasso, a NYSE floor trader at Stuart Frankel, on the show Friday. Hedge funds continue to try and break the market, but their short positions keep getting blown out by surprised fund managers not wanting to miss out on this rally higher, according to Grasso.    

The cynics will argue that analysts once again low-balled estimates and that all the surprising gains in profit margins were driven by cost cutting. But even the biggest bears can't help, but be impressed by the magnitude to which companies have surprised the Street.

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Trader disclosure: On July 27th, 2009, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Seymour Owns (POT), (AA), (BAC), (AAPL), (FXI), (SBUX); Seymour's Firm Is Short (PBR); Najarian Owns (UNH) Calls; Najarian Owns (BTU) Calls; Najarian Owns (BUCY) & Short (BUCY) Calls; Najarian Owns (INTC) Call Spread; Najarian Owns (JPM) & Short (JPM) Calls; Najarian Owns (MS) & Short (MS) Calls; Najarian Owns (MSFT) & Short (MSFT) Calls; Najarian Owns (V) & (V) Short Calls; Najarian Owns (WNR); Najarian Owns (YHOO) Call Spread; Terranova Owns (MCD), (AMZN), (MSFT); Finerman Owns (RIG); Finerman's Firm Owns (MSFT), (NOK), (PBR), (RIG), (TBT), (WMT); Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (BAC) Preferred Shares; Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (WFC) Preferred Shares, Finerman's Firm Is Short (WFC); Finerman's Firm Is Short (USO), (IJR), (IYR), (IWM), (MDY), (SPY)