Real Story: Good Times Roll

Strong earnings and M&A news give stocks another shot in the arm.
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Monday's session was more evidence of how low the bar is set for earnings this quarter and is paving the way for a "better than expected" rally,

TheStreet.com's

editor-at-large Aaron Task says on Monday's

The Real Story podcast.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

,

Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

and

Eli Lilly

(LLY) - Get Report

paced Monday's earnings parade, which also featured raised guidance from

JDA Software

(JDAS)

.

Citigroup and Wachovia helped lead a rally in the financial sector that extended to the subprime space after

Fremont General

(FMT)

said it is selling its residential real estate business.

The deal, believed to be worth about $2 billion, gave a boost to other subprime lenders like

Countrywide Financial

(CFC)

and is further evidence there is no "credit crunch" in the financial sector despite all the inflammatory headlines, Task says.

The absence of a crises also means there's no need for a

Federal Reserve

rate cut, but the stock market doesn't seem in need of rate relief, he adds.

In the remainder of the podcast, Task discussed the day's corporate news, including M&A activity involving

SLM

(SLM) - Get Report

,

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

and

Quest Diagnostics

(DGX) - Get Report

.

Click

here to listen to the entire podcast.