Posts filed under “Analysts”
Every now and then a remarkably bad idea springs to life. It gets debated, ridiculed and eventually discarded. In the marketplace of ideas, free and open debate help to determine which ideas are useful and which wind up in the rubbish heap. (John Stuart Mill was onto something). We tolerate reprehensible ideas because, ultimately, free speech leads society toward a greater truth.
Today’s column is about a concept so misguided and ill-conceived that it cries out for a debunking.
The idea is that publicly traded corporations should stop reporting their quarterly financial results. Moneybeat reported that the idea originated in the U.K., with Legal & General Investment Management, which manages $1.1 trillion in assets. Legal & General, according to the report, “contacted the boards of the largest 350 companies on the London Stock Exchange supporting a move away from quarterly reports.” That idea is now being championed in the U.S. by Martin Lipton and Sebastian Niles, both of the law firm Wachtell Lipton.
Before we dissect the problems with this proposal, let’s acknowledge upfront that there are many legitimate problems related to the quarterly earnings dance. It gives some companies an excessive incentive to disproportionately focus on short-term results. The pressure to game accounting can be overwhelming, and the way many companies use and abuse financial reporting is laughable. Longer-term capital expenditures, research and development, and investing can get neglected for fear it might hurt the quarterly numbers. Ignoring the long term leads to ill-advised acquisitions, needless firings and relentless obsession with cost cutting. Short termism certainly underlies the current practice of borrowing money to buy back shares.
Continues at: Wrong Fix for Short-Term Corporate Thinking
My Sunday Washington Post Business Section column is out. This morning, we look at two competing investment philosophies, Alpha & Beta. The print version had the sort of misleading headline Be the guy with the calm and collected investing strategy – I much prefer the online version’s The best investment strategy for you? It’s the…Read More
I spent the past week in Maine, fishing for smallmouth bass and discussing policy with largemouth economists. It is an annual trip, and one where the wine flows freely and the debate is sincere and robust and perhaps best of all, very unguarded. The open nature of the discussion is the result of the Chatham House…Read More
My Sunday Washington Post Business Section column is out. This morning, we look at how the internet evolved as a source of bad investment opinion. The print version had the full headline How to sort out the garbage of online investment advice; I like the online version hed, Hey, investment cranks: The Internet never forgets. Here’s an excerpt from…Read More
Farhad Manjoo of the NYT explains the why the usual pattern seems to be happening with Apple: “Analysts’ estimates vary wildly, with many originally predicting that Apple sold three million to five million watches from April to the end of June. After studying Apple’s opaque earnings report, several analysts revised their estimates down to about 1.5 million to…Read More
Earlier this summer, I tweeted a wonderful line from Brett Arends column, 25 things I wish I knew when I graduated from high school:
3 simple rules will explain 99% of human behavior 1: Most people don’t think. 2: Some people are jerks. 3: Everyone is selling something.
— Barry Ritholtz (@ritholtz) June 15, 2015
That led to a delightful column last week from Michael Johnston’s A Visual History of Market Crash Predictions.
Here are some of the more egregious calls, but the entire article is well worth your time to read:
Source: Fund Reference
Sometimes the gains from a new regulatory regime are obvious. The creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is a perfect example. Your bank deposits are guaranteed by the government up to some stated amount, no matter the recklessness or irresponsibility of the bankers running the place. It wasn’t always this way. Before the FDIC,…Read More
Every now and again, a way of looking at markets suddenly gains traction. Data gets assembled, analyzed, reviewed. Eventually, it becomes the basis of traders’ decision-making process. It even can become part of Wall Street lore. The problem that arises all too often is that this approach is statistically bogus. The data gets cherry picked;…Read More
Those of you who over the many years have followed some of the thoughts and observations I jot down each morning may have noticed several themes. Prominent among them is that forecasting is folly; cognitive errors create investing mistakes; consider context when analyzing data; recency bias overemphasizes the latest data; mixing politics with investing is…Read More