Memo to reporting executives: Before you start your conference calls go watch some old NFL games. Watch the way the players burst out of the tunnel and fly on to the field. It's called being jacked and whoever comes out the most jacked is often the team that wins the contest.
I know it's a terrible time.
I know that we have to be sympathetic to all who have gotten sick and to the families of all who have passed away.
But it doesn't mean that you have to make us feel like it is a mistake to own shares in your company. That's what I felt like last night when I listened to the management of Intel (INTC) talk about their quarter. It was almost as if they were warning you not to buy. They seemed apologetic. I am not asking them to do cartwheels but, jeez, come on! You want to withdraw guidance just say that nobody knows when the vaccines are going to be ready, or the antivirals. So we withhold guidance until we know more.
Now, of course we would love it if a company actually has such a crystal ball that it can look out into the future. That's why the stocks of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and UnitedHealth (UNH) are so terrific. Their CEOs hit it out of the park and JNJ shaded guidance by a hair and UnitedHealth kept it intact.
But if you have a substantial auto business like Intel with Mobileye you don't have to sound apologetic. We all get it.
It's no wonder Intel dropped four and a half dollars after the call. I would have sold it, too, if I didn't know that much about the company and owned the stock. More sensible people snapped it up today.
I though the same thing about Target (TGT) yesterday. Brian Cornell has transformed his company into one of three brick and mortar survivors, along with Costco (COST) and Walmart (WMT) . He's done so brilliantly with an amazingly successful pick up service that is all the rage. How good is it? As he told CNBC: "In April alone our digital growth is up over 275%. We've just seen cyber Monday occur almost every day but the volume is twice the size of a normal Cyber Monday. "
That should have vaulted his stock to the moon. Instead he got bogged down talking about weaker margins. Are you kidding me? Shopify (SHOP) went to an all time high on a similar statement.
It was almost as if he was defensive about his great strategy.
What should he have done? He should have come in hot, talking about how they are building lifelong customers and while he wants the smaller operators to do well, thrives on competition, and the fact is that the value of a lifetime customer is so much more important than short-term margin pressure that it's a fatuous way to grade the company.
You want to know how to do it? Go listen to Ritch Allison, the incredibly good CEO of Domino's (DPZ) that, like Brian from Target, has amazing technology and he recognizes the impact yet he's got to work for shareholders all the way.
Next week a host of companies report. So, CEOs if you are watching, stop apologizing, don't surrender to the gloom and tell your story with sympathy but with glory, come out jacked, or give the mike to someone else and don't come out at all.