On Earnings Calls, Optimism Can Be Dangerous

 | Oct 22, 2012 | 11:09 AM EDT
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Are we saving the biggest hammerings for when companies say things are good when the market perceives them to be bad?

I keep thinking about that horrid Google (GOOG) conference call where the company kept saying things are terrific, no recognition that people would be disappointed by the ad sales and the surfeit of inventory and the spending that seems to go on for extraneous products.

Of course, since Google has revenue growth that's ahead of almost all other companies, and since it has a tremendous number of new, low-cost products, including a cheap, powerful personal computer, to write the company off is a mistake.

But the happy talk?

I hate it.

It may not necessarily help the company to be downbeat the way Parker-Hannifin (PH) and Air Products (APD) were, but all Google was doing was looking at the numbers and telling you that it was disappointed.

But when numbers are honestly disappointing, as Google's obviously were, what's the problem with just saying it, for heaven's sake, rather than sugar-coating it?

I think that Google blew the release physically, financially and emotionally. It's not snapping back, I believe, because the trends are going against it.

Maybe it can bottom. But it is now in the "Who cares?" mode, as in, "Who cares, there are so many other companies out there that are doing well, why do I have to mess with Google?"

The answer, of course, is, we don't! 

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