Pisani: Crazy Earnings Surprises!

Mining and metal stocks are up again about 2 percent in Europe; Rio Tinto was raised to "buy" from "hold" at Citigroup. We have no panic over Greek bonds, so Europe is trading higher.

Elsewhere, earnings are pumping up stocks:

1) Dow Chemical beat on top and bottom line, but traders say it is not enough. The headline is $0.18, above consensus of $0.11, but the buyside whisper number was closer to $0.20. They had a big tax benefit and little to no free cash flow.

They are reporting the same phenomenon other multinationals are reporting. Volumes increasing notably in emerging markets, modestly elsewhere, but down 1 percent in North America. "Growth will continue to lag in the U.S. and Europe," CEO Andrew Liveris said.

2) Whirlpool bucked the trend: sales in North America INCREASED 4 percent, while unit shipments increased 8 percent.

Stock is up 4 percent pre-open, reported earnings of $1.24 (which included a $0.40 legal expense) vs. consensus of $1.32. 2010 guidance of $6.50-$7.00 was above consensus of $6.45, free cash flow is estimated at $400-$500 million.

3) Home builder DR Horton up 6 percent pre-open, and dragging other home builders higher this morning, as their earnings beat expectations — heck, they reported a PROFIT of $0.56; consensus was for a LOSS of $0.14. Net sales were up 45 percent compared to a year ago. There were fewer inventory impairments as well.

4) UPS is up 1 percent after delivering Q4 earnings a penny above Street estimates. The shipper saw strong growth in international package volumes (UP 11.8 percent). This dramatically exceeded the 1.9 percent DECLINE in U.S. package volumes, which were weighed down by fewer U.S. ground shipments.

Looking ahead, 2010 guidance of $2.70-$3.05 falls within the consensus estimate of $2.80.

5) Ann Taylor jumps 11 percent after revealing that Q4 earnings "will exceed expectations." The women's apparel retailer also raised its Q4 sales outlook, now seeing flat comps.

Margins significantly improved too (52 percent vs. 36 percent in year-ago quarter) as the company managed inventories better and relied on less extreme discounts.

6) Shares of Cummins rev up 6 percent in pre-market trading after reporting strong Q4 sales ($3.40b vs. $2.83b) and earnings ($1.36 vs. $0.76 consensus).

Sales of its engines rose 12 percent as demand picked up ahead of some clean air rules changes. The engine maker also noted a quicker rebound in its Brazil, India, and China markets when compared to markets in the U.S. and Europe.

However, it cautioned that the first half of 2010 will be "extremely challenging," with North American engine shipments falling as much as 80 percent from the second half of 2009.

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