8 Reasons Why Earnings Don't Matter

  1. Buybacks - It doesn't matter if a company misses revenue or EPS because as soon as they miss everyone knows the safety net of a +$500M buyback is lurking in the shadows.
  2. Accounting - Earnings don't matter when you get to make up numbers and present them however you please.  "Hey Bill (CEO), GAAP earnings came in last quarter at -$5.69 but our non-GAAP came in at $10.28.  Do you want to go ahead and just report the non-GAAP earnings this time? It will make us look like we actually did better last quarter as long as they don't look into the report that closely."
  3. Non-Financial Metrics - Back in the day, when earnings reports were analyzed, people actually looked at revenue, debt, cash flow, etc. Now, all investors care about are Monthly Average Users (MAUs),  Facebook likes, follower counts, eyeballs, hours listened, and other non-financial metrics that tell you absolutely nothing about the profitability of the company and their business model.
  4. Rumors - Earnings don't matter when Joe Blow on Twitter can tweet out a rumor that a company is seeking acquisition.  As soon as this happens, investors instantly forget about a bad quarter and their focus turns solely on what price the company will get bought out at.
  5. Activists - Homegamer 1: Wow, XYZ really got pummeled today. They had a terrible earnings report.  Homegamer 2: I'm not too worried about it.  Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn are major stakeholders.  They won't let anything bad happen.  It's just another buying opportunity.
  6. Due Diligence - Does anyone actually READ an earnings report anymore? I know Cramer always talks about it but if I had to guess I would say +95% of homegamers/traders/hedgies/investors actually read the reports (I know I don't because I only focus on ramping stocks for 30 minutes a day).  They only focus on the top and bottom line numbers.  Who cares what actually happens to get to those metrics?  Typically, as soon as the headline numbers hit, the stock will move +/- 10%.  It's always a shoot-first-ask-questions-later type of deal.  The problem is no one ever asks the questions later because they never looked into the actual earnings report.  They just assumed that it was good or bad based on the instantaneous reaction after the news hit the wires.
  7. Excuses - Earnings don't matter because as soon as a company misses, they will make excuses about how it was a one time event and they don't expect it to impact their business.  Once these excuses are made it gives the Street the opportunity to lower next quarter's estimates.  Then the company will beat because of the lowered estimates and everything is fixed again.
  8. Estimates - Estimates are just made up numbers from companies copying and pasting from each other.  These estimates don't actually tell you anything about how the company did QoQ or YoY.  Plus, there is always the guy that wants to have the highest estimate on the Street so he can say "nailed it".  And if this wasn't already dumb enough, don't forget about the whisper numbers (must be a paid subscriber or Pro member to access this material).  Here are three common scenarios: 1) The Street EPS estimate was $1.00 and XYZ reported $0.99 = Stock falls 20% even though growth YoY was 30%.  2) The Street EPS estimate was $1.00 and XYZ reported $1.01 = Stock falls 5% because didn't beat the whisper.  3) The Street EPS estimate was $1.00 and XYZ reported $1.02 = Stock rises 20% because they beat the whisper.