Sunday, April 24, 2016

The financial markets are just as or more rigged than 2008/9

GRETCHEN MORGENSON; "Fantasy Math Is Helping Companies Spin Losses Into Profits"

The News and Record won't report anything like this
as Warren Buffett owns the brand

"...What’s surprising, though, is how willing regulators have been to allow the proliferation of phony­baloney financial reports and how keenly investors have embraced them. As a result, major public companies reporting results that are not based on generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, has grown from a modest problem into a mammoth one.

...90 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500­stock index reported non­
GAAP results last year, up from 72 percent in 2009.

...the gulf between reality and make­believe in these companies’ operations is so wide that it raises critical questions about whether investors truly understand the businesses they own.

Among 380 companies that were in existence both last year and in 2009, the study showed, non­GAAP net income was up 6.6 percent in 2015
compared with the previous year.

Under generally accepted accounting principles, net income at the same 380 companies in 2015 actually declined almost 11 percent from 2014.

...almost 10 percent of the companies in the S.&P. 500 that used made­up figures took out expenses that fell into a category known as “other.”

...the Securities and Exchange Commission has not been more aggressive about reining in this practice.

...some companies appear to be violating the requirement that they present their non­GAAP numbers no more prominently in their filings than figures that follow accounting rules.

“They just need to go do an enforcement case,”...

“They are almost creating a culture where it’s better to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission, and that’s always really bad.”

New York Times