Earnings and surprises…

For the past two days, we’ve witnessed one of what I would personally considered as the most hilarious jokes of the year unfolded on Wall Street.

Quick quiz to those of you who are reading this:

1. If a company that has not lost a single cent ever since it went public in 1999, and was labelled the most profitable firm in Wall Street, has reported a quarterly loss, how should the market react?

2. If the average of the analysts’ estimate of the loss is $3.73 per share, and the company ended up lost $4.97 per share, how should the market react (based on either the Arbitrage Price Theory that I am sure every single finance student would know, or simply your guts feeling?)

I guess the most common answer would be the decline in share price.

And that happened to Goldman Sachs yesterday.

And GS rallied 15% yesterday.

It was interesting to see how the helpless financial news reporters say about this. The editors in Bloomberg, after scratching their heads for hours, came up with the excuse that the performance was better than the most pessimistic estimate from an analyst in UBS AG, who was predicting $5.50 per share loss (I bet all those shorters want to beat the hell out of that guy now). (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20670001&refer=&sid=a6ku8xZK62X0) New York Times, being more political, simply said that it was “in line” with analysts’ estimates (OK, perhaps my English is really bad, but do English-speaking community generally consider miss by 33% from average as “in-line”?)

And the story did not end here.

This morning, Morgan Stanley reported its quarterly loss.

And this time, the average from analysts was 34 cents per share loss, with no estimate more than $1.15, according to Bloomberg.(http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&refer=conews&tkr=MS%3AUS&sid=aKpeqFFx_giU)

The results was $2.24 per share loss.

Interesting enough, the share of MS rallied as much as 9.14% at one point of time before closing at 2.3% rise.

Now the most interesting part came, as both Bloomberg and New York Times found themselves in a awkward position that they could no longer explain the reason for such spike.

And their strategy was simple: based on facts. They simply reported the loss with no analysis/explanations.