Stanley Bing

Mad Lib Earnings

Handy shortcuts for the folks who post quarterly earnings, and for those who report on them.

By Stanley Bing

(Fortune Magazine) -- It's earnings season again, and we're into the crazy song-and-dance, this time hopped up on a nice mix of optimism, greed, and fear. Everybody's story is basically the same right now, so here are two all-purpose documents: one for use by the corporations reporting results, and the other for the people who cover them in the press. Just fill in the blanks!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, TODAY, 2009

BIG FAT COMPANY POSTS SECOND-QUARTER RESULTS; CITES "MEASURED IMPROVEMENT"

NEW YORK/CHICAGO/SRI LANKA - BIG FAT COMPANY (NYSE: !@#$) today reported results for the second quarter, ended June 30, 2009.

Boilerplate quote from CEO: "These are tough times," said Bob Boberts, chief executive officer of Big Fat Company. "Tough times call for tender chickens, and ours are the juiciest in what is, right now, a lean and stringy sector."

Boilerplate quote from COO: "While year-to-year comparisons are still odious, we believe that we have seen the bottom of this downturn," said Ned Nedwards, chief operating officer. "Although the top of the upturn is still going sideways, our future glows like a newly minted penny."

Second-quarter 2009 results: Revenues for the second quarter of 2009 totaled $__ billion, down from/slightly greater than the $__ billion for the same quarter last year. The decline/sad little incline in revenue was partially offset by the elimination of nondairy creamer in offices nationwide.

Earnings before intimidation, depression, and aggravation (EBIDA) for the second quarter of 2009 were $___ million, compared with $___ million for last year's second quarter. Net earnings were $___ million, or $0.__ per increasingly diluted share. While this was down from the same period in 2008, the fact that there were earnings places the Company in a better position than many of the investment banks, newspapers, and websites reporting on this announcement.

Contact info: Murphy's Tavern, the third stool from the door.

NEW YORK, FIVE SECONDS LATER, 2009

BIG FAT COMPANY SHOWS IMPROVED RESULTS, DISAPPOINTS STREET By Hortense Wazoo

BIG FAT COMPANY (NYSE: !@#$) today reported earnings that, because they were better than expected, threw all the people whose job it is to predict such things into a tizzy.

Revenue, earnings per share, and cash flow were all essentially flat from year to year, a tremendous achievement in this economic climate, according to analysts, but one that might not be repeated, unless it is.

Actual reported numbers go here: The Company produced $___ million of operating income on revenue of $__ billion, with a significant swing in earnings per share. While this shows improvement from the first quarter of 2009, everyone was looking for more while expecting less.

"Results, schmesults," said a quote monkey from an investment bank who's always available to validate assumptions. "We're going to downgrade them anyhow, since we have a sell rating on them and we hate to look wrong."

Place for unsourced speculation masquerading as analysis: Rising distress in the economy is likely to dampen demand for whatever it is. And a shortage of weasels means that existing long-term goals might be impacted, or could be, if they might be or should be.

For some reason, Big Fat Company's stock went down __% in early trading immediately following this report.

Stock symbol; reporter contact information, recipe for bean dip, etc.

Stanley Bing's latest book is Executricks, or How to Retire While You're Still Working (Collins), available at finer bookstores everywhere. He can be reached at bingblog@gmail.com. For more Bingstuff, go to his website, stanleybing.com.  To top of page

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