By Edward Winslow
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Additional info for Blind Faith: Our Misplaced Trust in the Stock Market and Smarter, Safer Ways to Invest
Management fully realizes this and sees it as their mission to maximize earnings. Unfortunately there is a lot of leeway in determining how earnings are calculated. Some companies maintain strict and conservative accounting policies, while others stretch the rules to the limit and beyond. S 46 steer clear of stocks CREATIVE WAYS IN WHICH MANAGEMENT MANIPULATES EARNINGS As we’ve seen, the higher the current earnings per share and expectations for future earnings, the higher the stock price. Regrettably, management has an overabundance of accounting tricks up their sleeves that bring into question the reliability of these earnings, even when the financial statements are audited by independent accountants.
67. 54. Even when you consider dividends, there would have been many better places to put money during this period of time, such as bonds and real estate. There is a better alternative, but it took me some time to reprogram my thinking away from the accepted tradition. I was thoroughly trained to embrace this philosophy of longterm investing and its supposedly irrefutable wisdom. chapter three Faith in Corporations Tricks of the Trade The greatest management sin today is not to report a loss, but to report a loss not expected by Wall Street.
A simple example illustrates this point. Suppose a company has issued 1 million shares of common stock. Let’s assume that its market price is $10 per share, giving the company a total market value of $10 million. Let’s also assume that the company is making a profit of $100,000 per year. Earnings per share would be 10 cents ($100,000 divided by 1 million shares outstanding). The P/E ratio would be 100 ($10 per share divided by 10 cents of earnings). The board decides to imple- faith in corporations 49 ment an employee stock option plan that allows employees to purchase up to a total of 1 million shares of stock at a price of 10 cents per share.
Blind Faith: Our Misplaced Trust in the Stock Market and Smarter, Safer Ways to Invest by Edward Winslow