almost 4 years ago • 2 mins
US retailer Target and washing machine-maker Whirlpool can’t see where they’re going in this schlocky sci-fi storyline we’re living through, and they’re joining the growing ranks of companies abandoning their earnings guidance entirely 🧪
Target acknowledged on Wednesday that business is just too uncertain to forecast how much it’s likely to earn this quarter, let alone this year. Whirlpool gave its predictions a miss too, in what’s quickly becoming a hallmark of the current crisis.
It’s not unusual for companies to downgrade their projections for coming quarters when business is tough, but the unprecedented uncertainty caused by COVID-19 is forcing more and more to simply abandon them altogether. From US automaker Ford to German steelmaker Klöckner, global companies are being forced to hold up their well-washed hands and admit, “Erm… your guess is as good as ours.” 🤷♀️
Without a clear picture of how many people have become infected and what effect the various government responses will have – both on the virus and on the economy – it’s no wonder companies are struggling to fulfill their duties in keeping shareholders up to date. The UK’s financial regulators have even asked companies to delay publishing results until they can better assess the impact of the virus and present their investors with more up-to-date information 📊
Many business bigwigs – including billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Tesla CEO Elon Musk – have been calling for years for US companies to be relieved from the burden of announcing results every three months. They argue these rules – which are more onerous than in lots of European countries – force bosses to focus on short-term objectives at the expense of long-term growth. So as people ponder the silver linings that may follow the coronavirus disruption, one thing CEOs might be keen to hold onto is this new freedom from relentless financial forecasts.
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