Buffett And Dimon: No More Quarterly Profit Forecasts

Jamie Dimon, Warren Buffett urge CEOs to end quarterly earnings forecasts

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The two men are among the financial industry's most powerful leaders.

The pressure to meet short-term estimates has contributed to a fall in the number of USA public companies, wrote Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), and Dimon, who is also the chairman of top executives' lobbying group Business Roundtable, in an article on Wednesday.

Buffett's Berkshire, along with Jamie Dimon's JPMorgan and Jeff Bezos's Amazon, said in late January that they planned to start a joint venture to improve health care for their workers. "We should have an announcement on that matter within maybe two weeks".

"I have seen managements. get tempted by the predictions that they've made", Buffett said.

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. "You're not going to be ordained to be the president of the United States. Business just doesn't work that way".

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Companies often hold back spending on technology, hiring and research and development to meet quarterly earnings guidance that may be affected by factors outside the company's control, they wrote.

"Sometimes you're a cork in the ocean", he said.

Wall Street traders seek the quarterly predictions as benchmarks of a company's performance.

Stock trades generate fees for financial managers, so there's opposition to nearly anything that can lead to less trading. 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. The information is meant to let investors and potential investors decide whether to buy or sell a company's stock.

"When companies get where they're sort of living by so-called 'making the numbers, ' they do a lot of things that really are counter to the long-term interests of the business", Buffett said.

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