BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- Even though Europe is grabbing headlines this morning, it's all about the earnings this week.
Earnings season is back, and it's investors' biggest hope to add some fuel to the rally that's propelled stocks for most of this year. We're in the very early stages of this quarter's earnings bout. So far, only eight S&P 500 stocks have released their numbers to Wall Street. But the early results indicate that analysts are buying the "overextended" sentiment that's shoved stocks lower in April: Five of those eight stocks have posted positive earnings surprises so far.
With record corporate profits fueling record cash positions on corporate balance sheets, it suddenly becomes a whole lot harder to be bearish -- especially if earnings surprise investors to the upside again this quarter. Almost a fifth of the S&P is slated to release earnings over the course of this week; that makes the next five trading sessions critical for stock investors.