It's Wall Street's version of Halloween. Later this month, companies will don their frilliest disguises, knock on doors, and open their bags wide to let investors catch a peek at how their September quarters panned out. Earnings season can be a pretty exciting time, with hundreds of companies lining up to report on any given day.
It can be a pretty hectic time too. Investors nibble away at their nails as Mr. Market opens the door. The moment of truth beckons, and there's really only one question worth asking as the porch light flickers: Trick or treat?
Unfortunately, we've already got a few tricks on the way. Some companies have already alerted shareholders that they will be coming up short in their upcoming quarterly check-ups. Some of them have reasonable excuses. Others are just reaching in the justification process. Let's take a look at a few companies that are already making plans to disappoint investors later this month, eggs in one hand, toilet paper roll in the other.
Silver linings for golden opportunists
The laundry list of profit-warning reports shouldn't trouble you. Sure, they're plentiful. Go alphabetical and it will take you a long time to get past the very first letter as companies like aluminum giantAlcoa
However, the fact that there have been so many warnings -- and so few upward revisions -- isn't as big a deal as you may think. Companies are quick to report bad news for fear of litigious shareholders. When they have good news to tell, they usually don't mind keeping it under wraps and springing it on delighted investors later. That's because no one ever sued a company for being too good.
So don't be afraid when the doorbell rings later this month. Earnings season is usually a festive time. Just be careful of what candy you give to that corporate kid decked out in the grim reaper outfit.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz dreads the early reports almost as much as the Friday night press releases. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.