A plea to end the congratulations!

September 17, 2010

It’s a Friday, and for me (and many others) the beginning of a New Year and a somber period full of reflection. So here’s my Yom Kippur wish: can we finally end the rampant “Congratulations” that goes on during earnings calls and other calls with analysts? I thought about this when I was reading this exhibit to the 8-K that Dress Barn (DBRN) filed yesterday, where I counted six different analysts voicing their congratulations on the earnings call.

There was Steven Gregory from a shop called Mandalay Research congratulating the executives on the launch of their e-commerce platform. Alex Fuhrman of Piper Jaffray had this to say: “Congratulations on a fantastic year.” So did Edward Yruma of KeyBanc Capital Markets. And Samantha Panella of Raymond James. Oh, and Robin Murchison at SunTrust. Not to mention Janet Kloppenburg, a longtime retail analyst who formed her own shop a few years ago.

Besides, if the earnings were so good and worthy of so many congratulations, why were they released after 4 pm and why has the stock fallen on the news?

I’ve been around for awhile and I know that saying congratulations is probably something these analysts were taught to do by more senior analysts when they started listening to calls. But after everything that’s happened in the industry, can’t these analysts at least pretend to be unbiased, especially now that the transcripts are so easily available on various sites, including Morningstar’s?

So during those silent periods of reflection when Kol Nidre starts later today, that’s what I’ll be hoping for. Well, that and world peace! Wishing those who celebrate it a safe and easy fast!

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