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The old order changeth, and having shifted discussion of the company’s results much later into the morning, Louis Gerstner has decided to shift the whole thing to the evening – at least for year-end 1996. The company has decided to release its fourth quarter 1996 earnings after the stock market closes next Tuesday, January 21, where for years it has released its earnings before the US market opens. Analysts are saying hopefully that they do not believe the change has any negative implications for the quarter: they reckon that IBM is releasing its earnings after the market’s close to avoid the volatility in its share price that has occurred during its conference call with Wall Street analysts. IBM will also hold its meeting conference call sometime after earnings are released, which means that Wall Street analysts will really have to burn the midnight oil to get their notes finished and beam them off to their clients. I don’t think it’s relative to their quarterly performance, Gary Helmig at SoundView Financial told Reuter. What was happening is that they would release the numbers and they would have people in and out of the stock while the meeting was going on. They decided it made a lot more sense to do this when the market wasn’t trading. IBM says many members of the investment community told it that they would like us to release earnings after the close. But IBM will decide whether to make it a permanent practice after their comments are in.

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