Finally, positive quarterly earnings reports are rolling in. Yahoo! posted sales of more than $1 billion for the first time. IBM topped consensus estimates by five cents. Bank of America's FleetBoston purchase seems to be paying off with a better than 40% sales jump. And Motorola gained market share in handsets. These are just a few of the headlines rolling off the wires this evening.
I have been waiting for a week now for the tone of earnings season to become clear and it seems today is the day I can say with some confidence that it is going to be a good quarter -- maybe even a great one.
Of course, some companies will disappoint in the weeks to come. But when you see a handful of technology bellwethers and financial giants surprising to the upside on one day, there's good reason for optimism about the rest of earnings season.
I still think the price of oil is a risk to the market. Another temporary jump today was enough to get the trading day started on a down note. But the price of crude came back down to where it started -- around $48 a barrel -- which seems to be a level traders can cope with.
It helped that traders seem to have anticipated the wave of positive earnings news to come after the close. How do they do that, anyway? Please send me your thoughts.