Better to address investor doubt and get it over with.
That seems to be the consensus this earnings season as several companies hastily rescheduled their reports to try and stanch substantial stock declines.
Three of the country's largest banking companies — JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., and Citigroup Inc. — all accelerated the release of disappointing fourth-quarter results last week. This week Bank of New York Mellon Corp. rushed its earnings out late Tuesday, two days ahead of schedule, after its shares had been dragged down by investor concern about one of its rivals, State Street Corp.
Citi and B of A reported losses, while JPMorgan Chase and Bank of New York Mellon reported significant profit declines.
"They're trying to give greater clarity to the marketplace, because their stock price has been under enormous stress," and some are trying to show that "they're not going bankrupt," said Eric D. Hovde, chief executive of Hovde Capital Advisors LLC, a hedge fund focused on the banking industry.
Michael B. Goodman, a professor in the corporate communications school at Baruch College in New York, said that since financial institutions have some leeway in the timing of their reports, it can be in their interest to reschedule a report to address market-moving news.
B of A, for instance, hastily moved up its earnings call, previously scheduled for Jan. 20, to 7 a.m. on Jan. 16 as word leaked that it was poised to receive a second round of funds from the Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program. The company reported its first loss in 17 years a few hours after the government announced that it provided an additional $20 billion of aid.
B of A's report came out the same day as a rescheduled call from Citi, in which executives reported a loss of $8.29 billion and said the New York company would split itself in two as it looks to shed troubled assets.
JPMorgan Chase moved its earnings report up by a week, saying it felt it had its arms around issues at Washington Mutual Inc., whose banking business it acquired in September. The New York company said its net income tumbled 76% from a year earlier, to $702 million.
Regions Financial Corp. moved its Jan. 20 earnings call up by a half-hour, to 10:30 a.m., for entirely different reasons.
"We didn't want to be giving our earnings call while the inauguration was on. It's respect to the president, to the office, to our analysts." said Tim Deighton, a Regions spokesman.
The company reported a loss of $6.24 billion, or $9.01 a share.