Glimmers of Optimism

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With employment gains slowing to a trickle, Europe's continued troubles and China releasing data that second-quarter GDP grew at the slowest pace since the financial crisis hit in 2008, investors have good reason to be pessimistic and cautious when it comes this earnings season.

After all, the slowdown in Europe, Asia and Latin America has to impact corporate growth, and it has, in some cases significantly.

But, and it's a big but, I would posit that overly cautious analysts and strategists have lowered the bar so much that we might be in for a pleasant surprise when all is said and done. As you may recall, since late April, I've held that if all five of the following catalysts came to pass then we could be in for a nice rally during the second half of 2012:

Successful Greek elections. Check.

Leaders in Europe take a more aggressive approach to their debt crisis. Check.

Investors are positively surprised with the upcoming earnings season. Keep reading.

The Federal Reserves initiates QE3 (I'm guessing August or September)

Investors start trade out of bonds into equities.

Here's what I see in the earnings tea leaves, and why I believe that when earnings season is in the rear view mirror, investors will have been pleasantly surprised.

Just 30 companies have pre-announced in July. Of these, two have revised guidance upward ( Ross Stores ( ROST) and TJX Companies ( TJX) -- interestingly, both off-price retailers) and 28 have revised downward.

Keep in mind that companies tend to pre-announce bad news, not good news. So I'm not reading into the pre-announcements. I am, however, placing weight on the actual reported numbers

By contrast, the consensus earnings estimate from analysts have been raised in either the past week, or the past four weeks, at 149 companies. Reading through the list looks like a "Who's Who" of the U.S. economy.

J.P. Morgan Chase ( JPM) -- with some 26 analysts covering it, which means raising the average is difficult -- has seen its' consensus earnings estimate increase 7.25% in the last week.

Marriott International ( MAR), a good proxy for business and leisure travel, has seen its consensus estimate grow 7.3%.

The consensus earnings estimate for Vulcan Materials ( VMC), a provider of construction aggregates, asphalt mix, ready-mixed concrete and cement, and a good leading indictor of construction activity, has gone up 5.45%.

Boeing ( BA), one of the world's largest aerospace manufacturers, up 1%. Homebuilder PulteGroup ( PHM), up 1.92%, Tenet Healthcare ( THC), up 2%. (See the complete list here .)

I am a cautious investor, and here, too, I feel I must ring some alarm bells.

Pessimism is plentiful for many good reasons, and these reasons should not be ignored. However, so far this earnings season, I see some signs for guarded optimism, that along with other catalysts could make 2012, improbably, a good one for equity investors.

My advice, as always is be selective, do your homework, and, as always, don't fall in love with your own opinion.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Oliver Pursche is President of Gary Goldberg Financial Services, a boutique money management firm located in Suffern, NY. Additionally, Mr. Pursche is the Co-Portfolio Manager for the GMG Defensive Beta Fund, and a Founding Partner of Montebello Partners, llc. In his role as President of GGFS, and as a member of the GGFS Investment Committee, Mr. Pursche helps oversee the investment portfolio of over 2000 clients with over $500 million dollars in assets. Mr. Pursche frequently provides market and economic commentary on CNBC and Fox Business News, as well as often being interviewed by The Financial Times, US News and World Report, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Associated Press regarding his and the firms views on the latest market news and events. Mr. Pursche's views on the market and investment strategies have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Smart Money, USA Today and other national business publications. In addition to writing for TheStreet.com, he is also a weekly contributor on Forbes.com and BankRate.com. His daily market commentary can be read at www.betafundcommentary.com or you can listen to him on www.financialtalkshow.com weekdays at 10:00 AM.