On Tuesday, the Dow Industrials rocketed higher by more than 282 points to close the day at 16,167. That was more than enough to wipe out all of the previous day’s losses.
Interestingly, the catalysts for the move higher was optimism surrounding the earnings reports from two Dow components, 3M (NYSE: MMM) and Proctor & Gamble (NYSE: PG). Both companies reported their quarterly reports early Tuesday morning.
By the closing bell, each stock harvested gains of roughly 5% on the day. But a closer look at each company’s results is very telling about the degree of fluff Wall Street will publish as authentic analysis of U.S. equity markets.
You see, 3M had the slightly better day; closing up nearly 5.2% on what Reuters called a “better-than-expected quarterly profit and backed its 2016 forecast.” Complete gibberish!
3M had a disastrous quarter. The company’s revenues declined by 5.45% compared to the same period a year ago. In addition, earnings declined by 12%, and the company’s net margin also decreased from the year ago period. In short, 3M sucked wind.
So what made the dunderheads at Reuters so giddy?
3M cut 1,500 jobs in Q4 in an effort to save $130 million in pretax earnings for 2016! What this means is that Wall Street has lowered the bar so low that a company is no longer graded on its ability to grow revenue and earnings, but rather on its ability to reduce its tax bill by cutting jobs.
But wait, there’s more…
Proctor & Gamble closed the day on Tuesday 4.9% higher on good news, too. What was the news?
P&G reported a 2% gain in “organic” sales. Sounds like some new type of beauty product, right?
Nope. It’s a financial term whereby the company “strips out the effects of currency moves, acquisitions and divestments” from its quarterly reports. By implementing this accounting chicanery on shareholders, the company gives the appearance of prosperity when the reality is quite the opposite.
You see, in the real world, a company can’t strip out the effects of a stronger dollar and other activity. Those are real world events, and they affect a company’s bottom line in a tangible way.
But at the end of the day, Wall Street hucksters think it’s easier to turn a blind eye to doctored financials than to announce that Proctor & Gamble’s earnings are now forecast to fall $0.37 per share as a result of currency moves and acquisitions. By the way, the $0.37 decline in earnings is more than triple its previous forecast of $0.11 cents a share. That fact wasn’t even disclosed.
But we know why. Telling the truth about a company’s performance might not make a stock price jump 5% in a day. And that wouldn’t be healthy for the performance bonuses for management or the pump and dump schemes of Wall Street thieves.