Despite the fact that about two-thirds of S&P 500 companies have beaten earnings expectations, the index is down nearly 4% so far this year. What have we learned? Stocks may have gotten ahead of themselves in 2013, and beating expectations is no longer enough to pull the market up as a whole.
What's encouraging has been the reaction to individual earnings reports. Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) all jumped recently after their numbers came out, even though they couldn't excite the market. Individual companies doing well is an encouraging sign even if it doesn't get traders excited on a day-to-day basis.