Elliott's Singer agrees with Buffett, Dimon on profit guidance

Bad Advice       Quarterly guidance has resulted in bigger earnings surprises since 2016              Source Bloomberg

Warren Buffett has joined forces with Chairman and CEO of J P Morgan Chase Jamie Dimon to convince chief executive officers to end the practice of quarterly profit forecasts, reported CNBC.

Companies often hold back spending on technology, hiring, and research and development to meet quarterly earnings guidance that may be affected by factors outside the company's control, the business leaders wrote.

They told companies to move away from providing quarterly guidance.

Dimon is the chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of America's leading companies working to promote a thriving US economy.

Dimon, is chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of almost 200 CEOs that is also backing the push to eliminate so-called short-termism. JPMorgan Chase reported lower fourth-quarter earnings January 12, 2018 on weak trading revenues and one-time costs from USA tax reform, partly offset by gains from higher interest rates.Net income for the quarter ending December 31 was $4.2 billion, down 37 percent from the year-ago period.

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On Thursday morning, the Business Roundtable which includes CEOs of USA companies with more than 16 million employees and more than $7 trillion in annual revenues, weighed in supporting the proposal. Public companies owe it to all of them to get this right, they said.

Buffett and Dimon started down this path in 2016 with a document called Commonsense Corporate Governance Principles that included recommendations for "truly" independent corporate boards of directors and "constructive engagement" between corporate management and shareholders, as well as eliminating quarterly EPS guidance.

The two executives said on CNBC Thursday that companies that focus on hitting their quarterly numbers may do things that hurt them in the future, such as delaying investments or changing when certain gains are recorded.

"Short-term-oriented capital markets have discouraged companies with a longer view from going public at all, depriving the economy of innovation and opportunity", Buffett and Dimon wrote. While the companies didn't give much detail at the time, the announcement prompted broad speculation and unease among investors, sending shares lower for health-system companies including insurers and pharmacy-benefit managers.

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