Volume 17, No. 11

 

3Q2008: 20 Questions To Ask On Conference Calls:  Financial tsunami, unprecedented volatility, history-making intervention - the financial press has already exhausted its supply of clichés, and we may be in just the early innings of the game. (There’s another one for you.)

No matter what happens next, analysts and investors still have to parse the financials - and they always start parsing the minute the earnings are released. The earnings call is where, for better or worse, many snap judgments get made by investors based on scanty information. What’s left unasked in the conference calls might be the nugget or two that provides a springboard for more management discussion leading to profitable insights.

Miss your chance to ask relevant questions in the earnings calls, and you might not get another chance. In a Regulation FD world, it’s not as easy to get a straight answer to a tough question; CFOs and investor relation managers fear giving information in a way that might be deemed "selective." After a quarter like this one, the third quarter earnings calls will be more crucial than usual - and you don’t want to wait for the 10-Qs to show up. They might not even contain the information you want. Offered here: 20 questions to ask (or listen for) in third quarter earnings calls which might expose risks or reveal operating nuances that help you better understand a firm’s performance or financial status.

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