A MIND FOREVER VOYAGING THROUGH STRANGE SEAS OF THOUGHT, ALONE


This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.



The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

STOCK, ANALYSTS, AND QUARTERLY EARNINGS

So big story today is Apple stock tanking because their quarterly earnings report 'disappointed' Wall Street.

Did you read the numbers?  The sales were above expectations.  The net profits were above expectations.  So what was the problem?

They didn't sell as quite as many phones or iPads as some analyst said they should sell.  Tank goes the stock.

I remember back in the 1990's and I had stock in Citrix.  Citrix made some  ridiculous profit per share but was 1 cent below analysts predictions, so the stock tanked.  Meanwhile, Amazon didn't lost as many millions that quarter as analysts expected, so their stock soared.  And that is when I got out of the stock market.  When one company makes a nearly obscene profit but is 1 fracking cent off some analyst's crystal ball, the stock tumbles and another company loses more per share than Citrix made per share and their stock goes up because they didn't lose as much money as the crystal ball thought.

And all of that, dear reader, is what has led to most of America's business problems.  CEO's are driving companies by the quarterly earnings report.  Hit the numbers, bonus time.  Miss the numbers, find new job.  Remember how 'we' are not suppose to live paycheck to paycheck?  But that is what Wall Street America demands of the corporations, live QER to QER.

So companies move their manufacturing overseas, have massive layoffs, and do whatever it takes to hit those numbers which introduces the second problem.

Those numbers.  Here we go again.  Those numbers are made up pulled out of the wazoo numbers by some Ivy League MBA.  They are based on past performance and a little spin and english by the analysts.  How does McDonalds know how many hamburgers they are going to sell in February?  How does Apple know how many iPhones?  It's based on how many they sold last month, last year, at this point in the life cycle of previous products, etc.

But life is not an exact science.  No one pays attention to VARIATION.  Nice, normal variation.  McDonalds doesn't know the exact number of burgers, but it will correctly predict the number based on past performances +/- 1 sigma.  Being off 1 sigma from predictions isn't a disappointment or a surprise, it's normal.

Let's go to sports.  Guy averages 35 home runs a year for 10 years. Now, if his high number in a year is 39 and his lowest number a year is 31, when he hits 34 this year do you say, he sucks, trade him?  No, he hit about what you would expect him to hit.

I'm sure many of those analysts would argue a 55 mph speed limit has a built in variation so 60 should not get them pulled over in their 100k Benz by the Connecticut State Police, but same analyst will predict doom and gloom for any company that comes 1 penny short on it's sales.

So here are my questions.  Some analyst said this morning he is putting a sell on Apple and predicting a downside price of around 300 a share.  So how do we know said analyst, their spouse, their company, their friends, aren't going to make millions on playing his predictions?  Say Apple drops, they buy in, new products release, and Apple goes back up.  Or maybe I'm naive and they already had their options and short sells set because the analyst intentionally applied a pad to his numbers, knowing they wouldn't hit those numbers, thus cornering them into a predicted fall.

Oh, no, they have rules against that?  Well what keeps the analyst working tech stocks from tipping off the analyst doing food stocks so the food analyst makes the millions and then reciprocates the favor to the tech guy on the food stocks?  You would never know.

Who are the analysts?  What makes them different that the typical ex football player analyst who is going to spend 20 minutes analyzing the two teams, making a prediction, and they really don't have a clue.  What exactly did Howie, Terry, Dan, etc predict for the last Superbowl, or two years ago, or three years ago?

See, most experts don't know any more than you about what is going to happen, what makes them experts is they can articulate some interesting look at the situation - regardless of whether or not it works out.

Dick Morris is like that.  I remember listening to his analysis of the upcoming vote for the 2000 election and it was so damn interesting how a 1% move here or if it's 3% it will mean this.  Damn interesting and totally wrong.  That should be put on Morris's headstone at the end of his life:  Damn interesting but totally wrong.  But the head stone must be a giant toe.  I'm sorry, painting a woman's toes in bed is kind of sexy; sucking on the toes of a hooker is creepy.  Being a short fat guy sucking on the toes of a hooker is seriously creepy.

So what exactly are the success scores of stock analysts?  Shouldn't they be required to, when saying this stock will do this or this stock will do that, to post their success percentage over the last 5 years?  "Hey, I think Google is going to fall far short of profits this quarter!"  Now, if I am 99% accurate over the last 5 years, it means something different than if I were 18% accurate in my analysts crystal ball.

Why do corporations put up with this?  I think Coke, a few years ago, said they were no longer going to release quarterly numbers, but I don't know if they did.  But more companies need to get off this quarterly report card crap.  All it does is make companies sell the future of their company for quarterly numbers, plays havoc on the lives of employees who are fired, not for performance or need, but just to help make the quarterly earnings report.

What is the point of all of this?  Analysts are ruining people's lives.  Missing the numbers by what is normal variation is going to cost people thousands and tens of thousands of dollars in the 401k, mutual funds, and IRAs today.  I spite of the fact sales beat estimates, the number of phones sold was below, so will people lose their jobs?  New hires put on hold?  And why?

Because some analyst decided four months ago what Apple should sell this past quarter.  Some Ivy League MBA who would sell his mother short if it meant making his company bonus has just sent the market into a tizzy.  And it happens every quarter, to hundreds of companies, and I'd bet my left nut that same analysts are making millions on their dice rolling.

And it caused companies to sell out on America.  We sold our manufacturing, services, and other core abilities to overseas slave type labor; we now buy our raw materials overseas.  Just think how much better the stocks of fast food companies will do in the very near future buying their chicken from China now.  Yep, the chickens that yearly produce all those new flu viruses is going to be sold in the US now.  Out of businesses go the American chicken farms and into out tummies comes factory raised chickens from China.  Yum.

And the analysts will love it.  They won't eat it, but they will love the QER.

Let's see, after the revolution, someone remember to put analysts on the lists for extermination, along with politicians, bankers, cat lovers, TV news talk show hosts, and anyone who attends a Hollywood type awards show or watches such shows.

I can tell you been hurt
By that look on your face girl
Some god probably sent me
To your happy world
You need love
But your afraid
That if you give in
Someone else
Will come along
And sock it to you again
One Bad Apple don't spoil the whole darn bunch
Oh Give it one more chance before you give up on love girl
One Bad Apple don't spoil the whole darn bunch
Oh I don't care what they say I don't care what you've heard
Whoo... Whoo…


The Osmond Brothers
yes
I used an Osmond Brothers song.  It was either them or Bobby Goldsboro

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