OLD Media Moves

Ask Talking Biz News…about earnings

September 27, 2010

Talking Biz News is starting a new weekly feature where business journalists can ask basic questions about reporting or writing a story, and we’ll do our best to answer them. The journalists shall remain anonymous, and the information is intended to help everyone in the field.

This week’s question is:

Do you know of a quick reference for looking up a company’s track record at meeting/beating Wall Street estimates? Unfortunately, we don’t have a Bloomberg machine. I can painfully figure out a company’s recent track record, but I’d like to find a source that allows me to search several years quickly.

Talking Biz News responded:

Yahoo Finance is great for this data.

The business journalist responded:

I can easily get the past few quarters on Yahoo, but I’d like to get 5-10 years of data, if not more. A source told me that one of [the journalist’s home state]’s public companies is “managing expectations” maybe a little too aggressively. I’d like to get a complete history of the company’s ability to meet/beat before I put anything in the paper or interview the company’s CFO.

Talking Biz News responded:

Have you tried an analyst who covers the company?

The business journalist responded:

I didn’t think of that. We have a few local analysts who cover the company. I bet they can dial this up fairly easily.

UPDATE: The business journalist e-mailed back on Tuesday to say, “To close the loop: A local stock picker just sent me screen snapshots from his Bloomberg terminal that show five years of earnings/sales data for the company. Magically, despite a global economic meltdown, they’ve only missed earnings once in five years.”

If you’ve got a business reporting question you’d like to pose to Talking Biz News, send an e-mail to croush@email.unc.edu.

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