Do we still care about earnings reports?

Going over the earnings reports

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: It is earnings season, and we'll get a bunch more today -- Motorola, Exxon, Colgate-Palmolive, some others. In ordinary times, a great -- or devastating -- earnings report can really have an effect on the stock market. But right now, seriously, does anyone really care about earnings? Marketplace's Jeremy Hobson explains.


Jeremy Hobson: Gary Shilling runs an economic consulting and investment advice firm. He says earnings reports aren't worth much right now. First off, investors expect bad news, and have usually already factored it into stock prices. And he says the reports often contain outlooks that are overly bullish.

Gary Shilling: Projections are almost useless in recessionary times. Very few analysts have the fortitude to step up and see that the companies they follow are in trouble.

Michael Holland chairs the investment firm Holland and Company. He says he's not interested in the fine print of how particular companies performed last quarter. Too much has changed since then.

Michael Holland: The specific numbers are less important than what the company is saying about how they view the short, intermediate term and how they're coping with the changes.

He says what really grabs investors are reports that offer a plan of action. The steps companies will take to survive and perhaps even thrive in a recession.

In New York, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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