Wall Street Horizon Blog

Do Companies Run from Bad News?

Posted by Eric Soderberg on Nov 29, 2015 8:27:44 PM

Given that companies are not required to host a conference call or webcast to discuss their quarterly financial results, I wondered whether there were any companies that might host a call when the company had good news to report, and not host a call when the company had bad news to report.  Here is what I found when looking at the behavior of 978 Fortune 1000 companies going back eight quarters to Q3 2013 . . .

Conference_Call_Grid.png

I found 20 companies, including Charles Schwab and Berkshire Hathaway, which for the past eight quarters have never hosted a conference call to review their quarterly results.  So whether there was good news to report, or bad, never a conference call.  I found another 37 companies, however, that had eight earnings announcements but somewhere between one and seven conference calls.  And two other companies that also had fewer calls than earnings announcements.  Aha . . . I might be onto something!

So I took a closer look to see if I could find the reasons why these companies were having conference calls some quarters and not for others.  The first thing I found was that several of these companies simply changed their practice of having a conference call every quarter to not having a conference call every quarter.  Others, such as Stewart Information Services and HRG Group changed their practice from not having a conference call every quarter to having one every quarter.

Broadcom and Office Depot were included in another group of companies that stopped their conference calls when it was announced that they were being acquired.  Centrus was part of another group of companies that stopped hosting conference calls because they were going through a Chapter 11 reorganization.  

So, despite my suspicion that I could find at least a few companies that would break from their traditions and not host a conference call because there was bad news to report, I could not find any . . . not yet anyway.  Perhaps if I expanded my search beyond the Fortune 1000 I could find a few?  (Are you aware of any companies I may have missed?  If yes, let me know.)

I do have my eye on a couple companies however that have confirmed their Q3 2015 earnings dates, but not their conference calls.  Perhaps we will see the conference call information in the earnings release, I guess we will just wait and see.

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