Earnings Season

With the majority of the publicly traded companies reporting earnings over the next 3 weeks, investors will begin to get a picture of just how bad things really were at the end of 2008.  Most companies will likely paint a pretty grim picture of what happened last year and what is going to happen in the next quarter as well.  One issue that will be a fairly consistent theme across companies is the lack of guidance moving forward, when quarters get hard to predict companies tend to withhold any guidance from the market.  This process creates a very difficult task for analysts because they are now left up to their own devices to decide what a company is going to earn for the next quarter and for the year.  With the lack of company guidance you will start to see a large variation to future earnings expectations, creating the possibility for large beats or misses over the next quarters depending on how conservative or aggressive the underlying analysts are with their estimates.  Uncertainty is never good for the markets but one should remember “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” DC

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