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Earnings are driving the market, at least for a day

People inside the offices of JP Morgan Chase in New York City.
Getty Images
People inside the offices of JP Morgan Chase in New York City.

Thursday is the first real day of earnings season earnings, and at least for a day, results, and not the macro picture, are driving the markets.

JPMorgan Chase is the key mover. First, it did not take the bait and did not use the "Brexit ate my homework" option. That is, it did not cite potential disruption in economic activity or the costs related to the transition as an excuse to be more cautious on the second half. The bank merely said the transition would take some time.

Banks — which will often sell off on the days following JPMorgan's earnings day (it is the first of the big banks to report) — are all in rally mode, up roughly 2 percent.

It wasn't just Brexit traders had to worry about. For months, many have expressed concerns about financials and the effects of lower rates, a flat yield curve, and a risk-off atmosphere on capital markets.

But for JPMorgan, those headwinds were offset by lower expenses and generally improving loan quality, as non-performing assets declined. Core loan growth was up a respectable 3 percent quarter-over-quarter and 16 percent year-over-year.

So far, earnings season in general is off to a good start. All the major companies beat, and all of them are trading up since their reports:

Earnings this week:
(stock price since reporting)

Alcoa: Up 2.2 percent since reporting

YUM!: Up 3.5 percent

CSX: Up 2 percent

Delta: Up 2.7 percent

JPMorgan: Up 2.1 percent

I know, it's early. But the early sign is that Q3 guidance for the S&P 500 — which is what the market cares about — is not being driven down nearly as much as it was last quarter. It may or may not end positive — right now Factset has Q3 up a measly 0.4 percent — but the picture at this point is certainly better than it was for Q1 or Q2. We'll get a better read by the end of next week.

  • 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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