NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- What's frustrating about chasing all these incremental headlines from Europe is that it's never quite clear how any of this seeming progress is going to help.
Take the situation in Italy on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was supposedly influenced throughout a choppy session by investors wondering whether Silvio Bersculoni was going to hang on as prime minister or not. The story seems to have settled on Bersculoni agreeing to leave if Italy's parliament passes the austerity measures being sought by the European Union.
The idea that this is really a bullish development for stocks is a reach, mainly because the details of said European Union plan are still a bit fuzzy, and the money to leverage up one super fund or another has yet to be found.
So in keeping with that sentiment, maybe it makes more sense to look for some takeaways from third-quarter earnings season. Citigroup weighed in on Tuesday, saying corporate profits were strong enough to boost its conviction that the U.S. economy will continue to enjoy slow growth and avoid sinking into recession."These results support our assumption for 2012 growth ramping down to ~2% US GDP and not a recession, favoring stocks with late-cycle weightings and higher earnings visibility," the firm wrote. "We expect volatility to remain high, but the industrial end markets appear to have sidestepped the worst of the summer's financial market disruptions." Among the stocks that Citigroup tabbed at risk were names like 3M (MMM), Ingersoll-Rand (IR), and Illinois Tool Works (ITW), which the firm provided as examples of companies with the greatest exposure to Europe as well as the early stage of the economic cycle. Citigroup also gave a few potential safe havens, singling out Danaher (DHR), General Electric (GE - Get Report), Honeywell (HON), Roper Industries (ROP), and Tyco International (TYC). "The best stock performers in 3Q11