Earnings point the way higher for stocks: Trader

The market has long been stuck in a remarkably tight trading range, with the S&P 500 remaining in a mere 95 point corridor since the first week of February. But according to S&P Capital IQ's equity chief investment officer, Erin Gibbs, earnings and valuation point the way out—and up.

"From a valuation perspective, the S&P 500 is trading at six-month lows," Gibbs wrote to CNBC. "The index has basically hovered between 17 times and 17.8 times forward earnings (with a couple very brief spikes) since February. Right now, the index is at 17 times, right at the bottom of the range."

Gibbs is referring to the most popular valuation metric for stocks, forward P/E, which compares the current price to analysts' estimates of total earnings over the next 12 months.

"Given that we don't expect a huge drop in the 'E,' I think the index is due to move back up toward the top of the range."

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Gibbs additionally pointed out in a Friday "Power Lunch" segment that companies were able to produce much better earnings growth than anticipated in the second quarter, with profits coming in about flat from the year prior, compared to the expectation of a 4 percent drop.

Still, she doesn't see anything big occurring in the next few weeks.

The move she expects "may not happen until September," she said. "We have to get out of the summer doldrums first."


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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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