Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffett urge CEOs to end quarterly earnings forecasts

Bad Advice       Quarterly guidance has resulted in bigger earnings surprises since 2016              Source Bloomberg

Bad Advice Quarterly guidance has resulted in bigger earnings surprises since 2016 Source Bloomberg

They argue that short-term guidance has encouraged companies to hold off on technology spending and hiring and research, and has even discouraged many private companies from going public at all. Around that time, big companies like Coca Cola, UPS and AT&T said they would no longer give quarterly guidance.

Dimon, is chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of almost 200 CEOs that is also backing the push to eliminate so-called short-termism.

Investor Warren Buffett gestures on stage during a conversation with CNBC's Becky Quick, at a national conference sponsored by the Purpose Built Communities group that Buffett supports, in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, Buffett discussed what philanthropy can do to help fight poverty.

Dimon has blasted excessive reporting requirements and the short-term focus of quarterly earnings.

Warren Buffett and business friend Jamie Dimon argued Thursday that publicly traded businesses can damage their long-term growth and hurt their shareholders by forecasting their earnings every three months and then making short-term decisions to "make the number". Without company guidance, analysts' estimates are likely to vary more, making share prices more volatile at the same time that estimates become less valuable to investors and, horror, not worth paying for. "Such short-termism is unhealthy for America's public companies and financial markets - which are critical to economic growth and financial prosperity", Business Roundtable said in a statement.

However, those favouring the practice vouch that it improves communications with Wall Street, reduces share price volatility and boosts a stock's value, the report said.

Buffett and Dimon also blamed the practice for contributing to the decline in the number of public companies in the USA over the past 20 years.

Earnings forecasts "can often put a company in a position where management, from the CEO down, feels obligated to deliver earnings and therefore may do things that they wouldn't otherwise have done", Dimon said Thursday in an interview with CNBC.

According to Buffett and Dimon, the focus of companies on short-term profits run counter to the long-term interests of the business.

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