"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." -- President Theodore Roosevelt


It is still early. Mad early, but earnings do seem better. Mad better. Hot numbers from the likes of American Express (AXP) , CSX (CSX) , Qualcomm (QCOM) , Blackstone (BX) , KeyCorp (KEY) , Sherwin Williams (SHW) , and Snap-On (SNA) set up yesterday's winning touchdown drive. The fact that this better data come from across many business lines has not been lost on investors. The EPS (earnings per share) beat rate vs. expectations is running at about 75%. That can be manufactured, you say? Sure it can, but this beat rate is toward the high end of what is considered normal. On top of that, earnings growth, for which expectations had been ratcheted down to a rough 9.1% y/y prior to the season, is skating along at a cool 10.8% for now.


Vive la France! Are investors worried about the coming election in France? Suddenly, it doesn't look like it. The CAC 40 ran 1.5% yesterday, far ahead of the rest of the European region. Some of this outperformance is being unwound this morning in the wake of yesterday's terrorist attack, but I think markets are less rattled going into this election than they were prior. Are they confident in the outcome? Are they confident that the outcome could bring with it an opportunity to buy shares at a discount, as was the case regarding both the U.S. presidential election, and the Brexit referendum in the U.K.? Reasons are not results. How about we let you know more on this later, but the fact that there is less fear is clear.

The Closer

Enter Sandman. Tax cuts, healthcare, tariffs on steel, oh my! All maybes. All hot again. With the game on the line, there is no doubt. As a fan, you want to see Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin warming up in your team's bullpen. Mnuchin said yesterday that his department is "pretty close to being able to bring forward major tax reform." Oh. yeah. Mnuchin added: "This will be the most significant change to the tax code since Reagan." Get some. Mr. Secretary added the words "very soon", and then he told us that the plan "will pay for itself". I can't take it anymore ... take 'em. What's offered now? Take those! Stay on the bid, don't let it come in. If you do, you're hooked. Ladies and gentlemen ... the crowd goes wild.

Just days after seemingly throwing water on the idea of seeing any kind of tax reform anytime soon, Steve Mnuchin got folks ramped up about the idea, and he even indicated that this plan will not be reliant on healthcare reform. Wall Street likes that. Likes that a lot! Heck, folks, your 401Ks and your IRAs like that.

Bang! Financials ran 1.7%, led by consumer finance and the banks.

Bang! Industrials ran 1.2% led by the transports (+1.7%).

Bang, Bang and Bang! Materials ran 1.1%, discretionary stocks ran 1%, and info tech ran 1%.

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