This chart shows why the bulls are getting excited about earnings

Another earnings season approaches, and one technical analyst says that for the second quarter in a row, the bulls will have something to smile about.

Analysts are expecting first-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies to grow by 9.1 percent from a year before, according to FactSet data, suggesting that the market could see its biggest earnings growth since the fourth quarter of 2011 if expectations are met.

For Piper Jaffray technical analyst Craig Johnson, what's most incredible is that analysts have remained so optimistic about 2017 for so long.

While expected earnings for fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2016 fell dramatically once the actual year began, in what Johnson quipped was the "glide path of a crowbar," projections for 2017 earnings have remained upbeat.

"What's interesting about this year is earnings look like they're a little bit stronger, a little bit more robust," Johnson said on Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation." "We have not seen this sort of downshift in the earnings estimates like you have seen in the prior two years, so it seems like things are a pretty solid setup here for second-quarter earnings season."

"I think we're in pretty good shape coming into earnings, and I do think there's going to be another leg higher here as we move into second quarter and ultimately the year-end for 2017," Johnson said.

S&P Global equity chief investment officer Erin Gibbs agreed that earnings could provide a boon to the market.

"[We may have] two consecutive quarters of around 8 percent. That's pretty good, so we're expecting decent revenue growth for most of the year," Gibbs said Tuesday on "Trading Nation." "So this might just be one more reason for people to get back into the market and for sideline money to get back in."

Earnings season will be in full swing next week, with a slew of big banks reporting on Thursday, April 13.


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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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