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Buffett, Dimon urge end to quarterly profit forecasts
10 June 2018, 07:12 | Randall Craig
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett speaks during an interview in Omaha last month
Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon, two of the most powerful leaders in the financial industry, have once again urged public companies to stop providing quarterly profit forecasts.
The health-care venture between Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. has picked the person who will lead the initiative.
Neither Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.in Omaha, or Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, predict their profits every three months. The group said public companies should be managed for long-term prosperity, not to meet the latest forecast.
In a CNBC "Squawk Box" program interview and an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal, Buffett and Dimon said quarterly forecasts, known on Wall Street as "guidance", take up management's time and lead to decisions that don't benefit companies or their shareholders.
Besides their positions as business executives, Dimon is chairman of the Business Roundtable, an organization of about 200 top executives.
Dimon said companies might forego investments they should make in their business, such as marketing, hiring or research, in order to hit short-term goals. JPMorgan Chase reported lower fourth-quarter earnings January 12, 2018 on weak trading revenues and one-time costs from U.S. 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.
Back in September, Dimon said bitcoin "wasn't going to work" and called it a "fraud" at an investor conference. An outsized emphasis on quarterly earnings per share projections undermines the importance of investments in infrastructure, workforce development and other crucial capital expenditures that drive sustained USA economic growth. Without company guidance, analysts' estimates are likely to vary more, making share prices more volatile at the same time that estimates become less valuable to investors and, horror, not worth paying for.
Those in favor of guidance say it improves communications with Wall Street, reduces share price volatility and boosts a stock's value.
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