Sam Antar makes a request to CFOs, Audit Committees, and auditors of public companies’ financial reports: study the SEC’s rules governing the calculation of non-GAAP measures such as EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), and follow them. Correct the mistakes before the reports get filed so Sam doesn’t have to write an article and I don’t have to post it.
For example, Penn National Gaming (PENN) erroneously reported EBITDA as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization AND charges for stock compensation, impairment losses, disposal of assets, losses from unconsolidated affiliates and the Empress Casino Hotel fire--that would be an "Adjusted EBITDA" or in PENN’s case, EBITDASCILDALUAECHFIRE.
To learn how to read a financial report and discover if the company you’ve invested in is calculating EBITDA properly or inflating this number, read Sam’s article. – Ilene
It’s pathetic that so many public companies miscalculate EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) and violate Regulation G governing the calculation of non-GAAP measures such as EBITDA. It seems that too many CFOs, Audit Committees, and auditors don’t take the time to thoroughly review compliance with all appropriate SEC financial reporting rules.
Starting in 2007, I reported improper EBITDA calculations by Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK). After a brutal yearlong public battle, Overstock.com’s embittered CEO Patrick Byrne finally changed his company’s EBITDA calculation to comply with Regulation G. For additional details, please read Lee Webb’s Stockwatch article and Richard Sauer’s book.
Last July, I reported apparently erroneous EBITDA calculations by Penson Worldwide (NASDAQ: PNSN) and Comtech Telecommunications (NASDAQ: CMTL).
In this blog post, I will report erroneous EBITDA calculations by five more public companies: A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE: AHC), FirstService Corporation (NASDAQ: FSRV), Animal Health International, Inc. (NASDAQ: AHII), Schawk Inc. (NYSE: SGK), and Penn National Gaming Inc. (NASDAQ: PENN).
First, let’s review how EBITDA supposed to be calculated
Fitch has released a comprehensive study on derivatives held by various corporations and has come out with some disturbing results: as Zero Hedge’s recent disclosure of data from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency confirmed, the bulk of the derivative risk is concentrated not merely in the "financial company" category (99.7%) but in a subset of just five companies, which account for an "overwhelming majority" of derivative assets and liabilities.
The companies in question (Total Notional Derivatives: Assets & Liabilities, $ in Trillions)
Bank of America:$80.0;
Morgan Stanley:$39.3, and of course
Goldman Sachs: $47.8 (this is an OCC estimate: Goldman has not disclosed notional amounts in their derivative book, only # of contracts);
If you want a preview of what the Basel III definition of "Too Big To Fail" will look like, the above five companies is a great place to start.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of derivatives, here is a good blurb provided in the Fitch report:
Companies use derivatives to manage risks related to interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates, equities, and commodity prices, as well as more obscure risks such as weather and longevity. According to the Bank of International Settlements, the notional amount of the global over-the-counter derivatives market was nearly $600 trillion at the end of December 2008. Furthermore, gross market value (the sum of gross derivative assets and gross derivative liabilities) stood at $33.9 trillion.
While improved disclosures and transparency are a good start to helping gauge the risks posed by these instruments, it is important for analysts and investors to take a fresh look at risk management practices, including the use of derivatives within that context.
The need for better disclosure on derivatives has been obvious since the implementation of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) 133, “Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities” (now Financial Accounting Standards Board [FASB] Accounting Standards Codification [ASC] 815). However, comprehensive derivatives disclosure did not become a U.S. GAAP requirement for most companies until March 2009 with the implementation of SFAS 161 (now ASC 815-10-50), “Disclosures about Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities.”
Editor's Note: With the war in Syria showing no signs of abating, we republish our Jan. 21, 2014, weekly explaining the complex geopolitics of the conflict.
International diplomats will gather Jan. 22 in the Swiss town of Montreux to hammer out a settlement designed to end Syria's three-year civil war. The conference, however, will be far removed from the reality on the Syrian battleground. Only days before the conference was scheduled to begin, a controversy threatened to engulf the proceedings after the United Nations invited Iran to participate, and Syrian rebel representatives successfully pushed for the offer to be rescinded. The inability to agree upon even who would be attending the negotiations is an inauspicious sign for a diplomatic effort that was never likely to prove very fruitful.
Greece may as well have gone to hell in a handbasket. Carnage is everywhere one looks, but let's start with the Markit Greece PMI report that shows record manufacturing contraction. July saw factory production in Greece contract sharply amid an unprecedented drop in new orders and difficulties in purchasing raw materials. The headline seasonally adjusted Markit Greece Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index® registered 30.2, well below the neutral 50.0 mark and its lowest ever reading.
Record contractions were registered for almost all variables monitored by the survey, including output, new orders, employment and stocks. There was also a record lengthening in supplie...
The left chart looks at the Nasdaq Composite index over the past 20-years.
Currently the index is back at the same price as it was back at the Dot Com highs. With the trend being up (above support and moving averages) the NAS, is attempting a “continuation of trend breakout” at this time. Should the index achieve a breakout above the 2000 levels, it would be viewed as a bullish continuation event.
The right chart looks at Apple over the past 5-years. For the past 6-months, Apple has struggled to get above the $133 level. From a very short-term perspective a short-term support line could be giving way, of a bearish r...
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In this weekly update, I give my view of the current market environment, offer a technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review our weekly fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten U.S. business sectors, and then offer up some actionable trading ideas, including a sector rotation strategy using ETFs and an enhanced version using top-ranked stocks from the top-ranked sectors.
Corporate earnings reports have been mixed at best, interspersed with the occasional spectacular report -- primarily from mega-caps like Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), or Amazon (AMZN). Some of the bul...
Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.
Baxter Int. (BAX) is splitting off its BioSciences division into a new company called Baxalta. Shares of Baxalta will be given as a tax-free dividend, in the ratio of one to one, to BAX holders on record on June 17, 2015. That means, if you want to receive the Baxalta dividend, you need to buy the stock this week (on or before June 12).
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or other financial instrument. Securities or other financial instruments mentioned in this material are not suitable for all investors. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only intended at the moment of their issue as conditions quickly change. The information contained herein does not constitute advice on the tax consequences of making any particular investment decision. This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation to you of any particular securities, financial instruments or strategies. Before investing, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, as necessary, seek professional advice.
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