Tag Archives: CAT

Top 5 Low Price Stocks To Buy Right Now

Citigroup’s Alastair Syme and team argue that the earnings from big oil companies like Chevron (CVX), Total (TOT) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) will be bad…real bad. But that won’t stop the stocks from outperforming. They explain why:

Bloomberg News

Negative headlines, positive performance: We expect the majority of Big Oil companies to post negative 1Q16 earnings, a brutal headline, but one that clearly reflects the impact of cyclical oil price lows this quarter. The outlook can improve. Our positive thesis on the Big Oil group reflects a belief that the market still only discounts modest oil recovery we think c. $40/bbl is imbedded in valuations and a view that the group can drive self-help gains to boost profitability even in a low price environment. Signs of this self-help should be evident in 1Q operating performance: we expect to see the delivery of top-line growth (taking market share versus broader industry) and a continued reduction in operating costs, building on substantial cost-cutting through 2015.

Top 5 Low Price Stocks To Buy Right Now: NewJersey Resources Corporation(NJR)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lisa Levin] Companies Reporting Before The Bell
    Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $1.96 per share on revenue of $3.46 billion.
    Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $2.8 per share on revenue of $2.93 billion.
    American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AXL) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.81 per share on revenue of $1.75 billion.
    Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE: BABA) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.88 per share on revenue of $9.27 billion.
    LifePoint Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPNT) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $1.13 per share on revenue of $1.62 billion.
    V.F. Corporation (NYSE: VFC) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.65 per share on revenue of $2.90 billion.
    Newell Brands Inc. (NYSE: NWL) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.26 per share on revenue of $3.05 billion.
    Titan International, Inc. (NYSE: TWI) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $0.04 per share on revenue of $407.27 million.
    Boise Cascade Company (NYSE: BCC) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.45 per share on revenue of $1.09 billion.
    Cheniere Energy, Inc. (NYSE: LNG) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.39 per share on revenue of $1.59 billion.
    Cboe Global Markets, Inc. (NASDAQ: CBOE) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $1.24 per share on revenue of $308.05 million.
    ITT Inc. (NYSE: ITT) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.73 per share on revenue of $683.96 million.
    Fred's, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRED) is expected to report quarterly loss at $0.19 per share on revenue of $551.00 million.
    Virtu Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ: VIRT) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $0.52 per share on revenue of $288.31 million.
    Cheniere Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: CQP) is expected to report quarterly earnings at $0.57 per share on revenue of $1.38 billion.
    Genesis Energy, L.P
  • [By Joseph Griffin]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on New Jersey Resources (NJR)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

Top 5 Low Price Stocks To Buy Right Now: Caterpillar, Inc.(CAT)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) reported first-quarter 2018 results before markets opened Tuesday. The heavy equipment firm posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.82 on revenues of $12.9 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported adjusted EPS of $1.28 on revenues of $9.8 billion. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $2.07 and $11.93 billion in revenues.

  • [By Chris Lange]

    Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) will share its latest quarterly earnings on Tuesday. The consensus estimates call for $2.08 in EPS and $11.98 billion in revenue. Shares ended last week at $153.25, in a 52-week range of $93.81 to $173.24. The consensus analyst target is $178.26.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) traded up 2.31% at $158.81. The stock’s 52-week range is $90.34 to $173.24. Volume was about 30% lower than the daily average of around 5.4 million. The company had no specific news Thursday.

Top 5 Low Price Stocks To Buy Right Now: Magic Software Enterprises Ltd.(MGIC)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Logan Wallace]

    ValuEngine lowered shares of Magic Software Enterprises (NASDAQ:MGIC) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report issued on Monday.

    Several other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports on MGIC. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Magic Software Enterprises from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 17th. BidaskClub cut shares of Magic Software Enterprises from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 23rd. Finally, HC Wainwright set a $10.00 target price on shares of Magic Software Enterprises and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, March 1st. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $9.81.

  • [By Lisa Levin]

    Magic Software Enterprises Ltd. (NASDAQ: MGIC) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.14 per share on revenue of $67.07 million.

    Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) is projected to report quarterly earnings at $0.47 per share on revenue of $1.34 billion.

Top 5 Low Price Stocks To Buy Right Now: IPG Photonics Corporation(IPGP)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ethan Ryder]

    Princeton Capital Management LLC grew its position in IPG Photonics (NASDAQ:IPGP) by 3.6% in the first quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 11,998 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock after acquiring an additional 421 shares during the quarter. IPG Photonics accounts for about 1.2% of Princeton Capital Management LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 27th largest position. Princeton Capital Management LLC’s holdings in IPG Photonics were worth $2,800,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

  • [By Danny Vena]

    Expectations were high for high-power laser-maker IPG Photonics Corporation (NASDAQ:IPGP). Last year was one of the strongest years in the company’s history, and the stock price more than doubled. The company’s had several years of stellar results and going into its financial report, investors were fearing a slowdown and were looking for any indication that IPG’s trend could continue — and they got just what they were looking for.

  • [By Ethan Ryder]

    Advantus Capital Management Inc reduced its position in shares of IPG Photonics (NASDAQ:IPGP) by 16.5% during the first quarter, HoldingsChannel reports. The firm owned 3,859 shares of the semiconductor company’s stock after selling 763 shares during the period. Advantus Capital Management Inc’s holdings in IPG Photonics were worth $901,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

Top 5 Low Price Stocks To Buy Right Now: TFS Financial Corporation(TFSL)

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Shane Hupp]

    Get a free copy of the Zacks research report on TFS Financial (TFSL)

    For more information about research offerings from Zacks Investment Research, visit Zacks.com

More Big Companies Beat Projections, But Wall Street Appears To Still Struggle

Companies keep churning out impressive earnings, but the market doesn’t seem to give them much credit. Instead, fear and caution remain the watchwords as the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJI) enters Wednesday on a five-session losing streak.

Morning Earnings Wrap

Boeing Co (NYSE: BA) became the latest member of the $DJI 30 to smash Wall Street analysts’ projections early Wednesday, firing up earnings per share of $3.64 vs. analysts’ consensus of $2.56. Revenue of $23.38 billion was more than $1 billion ahead of the $22.2 billion analysts had expected, and the company also raised its outlook. Strength in the commercial air division helped BA project a healthy sales picture.

Also on the earnings front, Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) topped analysts’ earnings projections and reported the second profitable quarter in the company’s history. It also handed out some bullish guidance and said daily active users grew 10 percent. The tech reporting season continues after the close when Facebook (FB) presents its Q1 results and tomorrow with Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT).

It’s unclear whether any of the earnings momentum will spill into stocks today as the futures market came under pressure before the opening bell. Stocks overseas followed the U.S. lower after Tuesday’s big sell-off, with a key European index down about 1 percent.

Market Psychology Ruling the Day?

The hunt for 3 percent ended Tuesday as the 10-year yield reached that benchmark level. Soon after, stocks started to take a beating and sharply reversed early gains. At one point, the $DJI stumbled more than 600 points before recovering about one-third of those losses by the end of the day. Concerns about higher borrowing costs and rising commodity prices may be playing into the pressure.

Wall Street also appears to be grappling with a few psychological issues. Most notably, there’s trepidation around that 3 percent yield number, which didn’t hold for long Tuesday but remains within close range.  It definitely seems to be hurting the home builders, whose shares sold off despite strong housing and consumer confidence data this week. The fear is that some people might hear about higher rates and decide not to buy a house after all. Home builders are dealing with something that’s more of a psychological factor than a reality factor, as “3 percent” was made out to be the boogeyman of the markets. Historically, though, it’s not all that high.

Another psychological element is the idea touted by some analysts about earnings starting to peak. This might have been exacerbated by Dow component Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) post-earnings conference call in which executives described the Q1 as a “high water mark.” Despite what some analysts called “phenomenal” earnings from the big machine maker, CAT shares fell more than 6 percent. Here we see the power of a conference call. This stock was higher before the call, but the remark led to immediate selling as some investors seemed to interpret the language as CAT saying it can’t get any better than this. However, the remark might not have come out as the company had intended.

More proof that one negative metric can hold back a big company’s stock surfaced with Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Tuesday. Though the company reported a powerful quarter, the stock got stuffed as investors and analysts seemed focused more on higher-than-expected capital expenditures.

The "P" and the "E" in P/E

What it all comes down to is a certain level of confusion, which could hang around for a while. There seems to be a repricing of equities going on and despite this being an incredible earnings season so far, stock prices keep going down. The price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple remains a key factor to watch. “E” keeps getting higher and “P” keeps getting lower. People just don’t seem to be inclined to pay the same “P” any longer. It’s unclear where this might go, and sometimes these things take six to 12 months to sort themselves out. We’re right in the middle of it now.

Anyone looking for a silver lining might want to check out how VIX, the market’s most closely watched volatility indicator, acted during the last hours of the day. If you look closely, you’d see that it pulled back a bit in the last part of the session from intraday highs above 19.

Next Up: Autos

Attention could shift to the automotive sector when Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) reports after the close today and General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) issues results before the open Thursday. There’s a truckload (pardon the expression) of things to consider ahead of not just these two behemoths but also Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), which according to the company’s web site reports May 2.

First, Ford is embarking on a huge program to save $14 billion, but, like all car companies, faces pressure to ignite its research and development (R&D) efforts to keep up with advances in electric and autonomous cars. At this point, F, which has lower margins than GM, is actually spending more money on R&D than its Detroit counterpart. Anyone who’s long F should consider listening to the company’s earnings call to see if there’s more clarity on where those savings might come from, and what they’re going to chop if it’s not R&D. At this point, one school of thought suggests that F is spending too much and not getting enough bang for its buck, but perhaps we’ll learn more Wednesday.

A question for GM, and maybe the U.S. auto industry as a whole, is what’s happening in China. Not long ago, 50 percent of GM’s revenue came from China, but now that’s below 40 percent. The company has closed some plants there. Is the Chinese market not growing at the pace we thought, or is Buick getting less popular over there? It seems unlikely that the latter would be true, so perhaps there’s something about the former that GM might address in its call, and, if that’s the case, might be something other U.S. car companies also have to address.

TSLA doesn’t report until next week, but there may be questions for the company about its own R&D after an analyst note came out recently speculating about TSLA’s development costs. Some analysts doubt if TSLA can achieve the Model 3 production it’s promised in the time frame the company has forecast. TSLA announced two temporary Model 3 plant shutdowns last week but said the shutdowns had been planned.

Though TSLA’s cars don’t need it, crude oil comes under a microscope this week as President Trump holds meetings in the White House with French President Emmanuel Macron. The Iran nuclear agreement is a key topic.

chart_4_251.jpg FIGURE 1: HOW THINGS CHANGE. The tech sector (candlestick) and financial sector (purple line), mapped here over the last year, led the charge through much of 2017 and right into the first month of 2018. Since then, these two former leaders have seemed to lose their way, and that’s one possible reason the market lacks direction.  Data source: S&P Dow Jones Indices. Chart source: The thinkorswim® platform from TD Ameritrade. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Buyers Pay Up in Chicago

Some call Chicago, “The most American city.” That may or may not be the case, but the city’s real estate market in March seemed to reflect some of the broader American trends in housing. Existing home prices rose more than 5 percent nationwide last month, and in the city of Chicago prices hit an all-time high median of $314,000, according to Illinois Association of Realtors. That was up more than 6 percent from a year earlier. However, total sales around the country fell more than 1 percent year-over-year, and Chicago’s market also saw less turnover, with the number of sales falling more than 10 percent. In sum, Chicago seemed to be a microcosm of a housing market characterized by rising prices and falling supplies. That might sound like a good opportunity for home builders, but rising mortgage rates raise question marks.

ECB Up Next

One thing that’s arguably helped hold back U.S. yields is lower yields in Europe and Japan. However, the European Central Bank (ECB) has been removing some stimulus and meets again this week. An update is due Thursday morning. The Bank of Japan (BOJ) seems inclined to stay put with its current accommodation, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda told CNBC in a recent interview, saying “risks are skewed to the downside” in Japan’s economy. 

GDP Time Already?

Earnings grab most of the headlines this week, but don’t forget to watch Friday for the government’s first read on Q1 gross domestic product. The report is due out before the opening bell and could give investors a sense of whether the economy continued its solid run that started in Q2 of last year. The consensus among analysts is that things slowed down a bit between January and March, to around 2.1 percent, Briefing.com said. That’s down from the final Q4 read of 2.9 percent, which marked the third-consecutive quarter of growth around 3 percent. Typically, GDP is closely watched but doesn’t tend to move the market unless it comes in well above or below expected levels. The government does get two more cracks at the ball, so this isn’t the final word.

Information from TDA is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy, and is for illustrative purposes only. Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade.

Upcoming Earnings: Industrial Conglomerate GE Reports Friday Morning

Industrial conglomerate General Electric Company (NYSE: GE) is scheduled to report earnings before market open on Friday, Apr. 20.

CEO John Flannery has faced plenty of challenges since he took over in August 2017, working to streamline the massive company and improve transparency. In recent quarters, GE’s issues have been numerous and well publicized.

In the time that Flannery has been at the helm, GE has halved its dividend; it took a surprise $6.2 billion after-tax charge in Q4 2017 related to GE Capital’s insurance portfolio, while adding $15 billion to its reserves  for future payouts over the next seven years; and recently restated 2016 and 2017 financials, reducing earnings by $0.30 per share. The restated financials also included adjustments related to pensions, cash flows and income taxes.

Clearly, the company’s turnaround efforts, which include a multi-year plan to improve GE Power as well as exiting more than $20 billion worth of business over the next several years, are going to take time.

There have been some signs of progress from Flannery’s plan so far. When GE reported Q4 2017 results, it generated $9.7 billion in adjusted cash flow from operating activities for fiscal 2017, compared to guidance of $7 billion.

Since announcing plans to exit $20 billion in business, it has sold its industrial solution business in a $2.6 billion deal to ABB (ABB) and recently announced a $1.05 billion deal to sell healthcare IT businesses to private equity firm Veritas.  And Bloomberg reported that several companies are considering a bid for GE’s Jenbacher unit for more than $3 billion.

On tomorrow’s calls, analysts are likely to be digging in to get a better idea of restructuring progress.

GE Earnings

For Q1 2018, GE is expected to report adjusted EPS of $0.11 on revenue of $27.88 billion, according to third-party consensus estimates. In Q4 2017, revenue missed estimates, coming in at $31.4 billion versus expectations for $32.7 billion, and earnings also came up short by a penny at $0.27 per share after removing charges and one-time items.

GE previously lowered its earnings guidance for all of fiscal 2018 to a range of $1.00 to $1.07, but analysts seem to think that’s a little optimistic given they have an average estimate of $0.95. Out of 17 analyst ratings, earnings estimates range from $0.87 to $1.04 per share.

GE Options Trading Activity

Around GE’s upcoming report, options traders have priced in a 4.8% share price move in either direction, according to the Market Maker Move indicator on the thinkorswim® platform. Implied volatility was at the 76th percentile as of this morning. 

general-electric-ge-stock-chart-q1-2018.png
GE 1-YEAR CHART. GE shares have dropped from a 52-week high of $30.54 all the way to a new 52-week low of $12.73 on March 26. The stock has bounced a little bit off that level and has been trading around the mid-$13 range for the past few sessions. Chart source: thinkorswim® by TD Ameritrade.  Not a recommendation. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

In short-term trading at the Apr. 20 monthly expiration and the next several weekly expirations, a lot of the activity has been concentrated at the 14 strike for both puts and calls, just out of the money. At the May 20 expiration, trading has also been heavier at the 14-strike call, while activity on the put side has been mostly at the 13 and 14 strikes. 

Overall during yesterday’s session, trading was heavier on the call side, with a put/call ratio of 0.476.

Note: Call options represent the right, but not the obligation, to buy the underlying security at a predetermined price over a set period of time. Put options represent the right, but not the obligation to sell the underlying security at a predetermined price over a set period of time.

What’s Coming Up

Next week brings results from many of the largest companies in the tech sector:

Google-parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) reports after the close Monday, Apr. 23
Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) reports before market open Wednesday, Apr. 25 and Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) reports after the close the same day
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) report after the close Thursday, Apr. 26

In addition to the tech-heavy week, some of the other companies on the docket are Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), General Motors Company (NYSE: GM), Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT), Boeing Co (NYSE: BA), Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM). If you have time, make sure to check out today’s market update for a look at what else is going on.

Information from TDA is not intended to be investment advice or construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular investment or investment strategy, and is for illustrative purposes only. Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade.

10 Stocks to Short as China Hits Back

U.S. equity markets have been much choppier so far in 2018, to say the least. Volatility has doubled. February saw the first market correction in two years. And since then, U.S. stocks have swung back and forth, with a number of big one-day moves along the way.

One of the more recent catalysts of the market’s nervousness has been an increasing fear of a trade war. What started with tariffs on imported aluminum and steel could end … well, anywhere. Given that the U.S. and China alone traded over $650 billion in goods and services, a tit-for-tat escalation could hurt both economies. And should other countries get involved, the worldwide impact could be severe.

All that said, the market hasn’t exactly plunged so far. And I tend to agree with James Brumely, who on this site called from some much-needed perspective on the confrontation. Trade alone isn’t a reason to flee the U.S. equity market, and it isn’t enough of a reason, alone, to sell or short a specific stock. Stocks like Deere & Company (NYSE:DE), Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) and Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) are obvious short targets, but they have already have sold off, and perhaps too far.

But for these 10 stocks, trade fears add to an already-existing short case. For investors who see trade war risk as a real possibility, all 10 can provide hedges against long positions, or aggressive short bets. And for investors more sanguine on a tariff battle, there’s still enough reason elsewhere to at least consider taking a short position.

Stocks to Short: Wynn Resorts (WYNN) Wynn Resorts, Limited (WYNN) Stock Gets Hit by the Fundamentals, Not #MeToo Source: Aurlmas via Flickr (Modified)

To be sure, it would take a tremendous escalation for trade issues to hit Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ:WYNN). So at the moment, the risk of WYNN getting caught in the crossfire of a U.S.-China confrontation looks slim.

That said, the risk also could be enormous. Wynn’s concession in Macau expires in 2022. If China truly wanted to take a scalp, Wynn, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NYSE:LVS), and MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM) all could potentially be at risk of being replaced.

Even a lesser action like adding additional concessions to the additional six in Macau could have a significant competitive impact on revenue and profits. And Wynn would be most at risk in this scenario, as it generates the greatest share of its earnings in Macau relative to its two other U.S.-based counterparts.

Again, that is a doomsday — and still relatively unlikely — scenario. But even some re-pricing of that risk could hit Wynn stock. And that’s not the company’s only problem in the region. As the Macau Daily Times (an English-language paper) reported, the sexual harassment allegations surrounding former CEO Steve Wynn present a risk to the company’s concession renewal.

Steve Wynn’s complete exit from the company may ameliorate that problem. But there’s also the risk that a trade war could hit the Chinese economy — and slow the stream of high rollers visiting Wynn’s properties in the enclave and driving baccarat profits on the Vegas Strip.

Add to that the possibility of a sale of its unfinished Massachusetts property and even rumors of a tie-up with MGM aren’t likely to keep WYNN afloat. And if any of the negative scenarios here actually play out, Wynn stock easily could tumble 20% or more.

Stocks to Short: RBC Bearings (ROLL) Stocks to Short: RBC Bearings (ROLL)Source: Shutterstock

The short case for RBC Bearings Incorporated (NASDAQ:ROLL) in this environment has a couple of different aspects. The first is that the company is a major supplier to the aerospace industry, which drives roughly two-thirds of revenue. So with Boeing stock one of the biggest victims of trade war fears, ROLL should have similar exposure of its own.

The second is that RBC has a good deal of exposure to steel prices, which could hit its margins. Normally, RBC has been able to pass increases along to customers, but Boeing and others may not pay up if it has its own margin concerns to worry about. The other one-third of ROLL revenue comes from industrial companies in construction and mining, oil and gas, heavy truck and rail, among other sectors. Those customers, too, could feel some pain from higher tariffs, and rising costs, making pass-through pricing difficult in that segment as well.

Meanwhile, ROLL hasn’t taken much of a hit yet and it looks rather expensive. While BA stock trades at less than 20x forward EPS, ROLL is at a whopping 26x. Profit growth really hasn’t been that impressive the last few years; instead, investors are pricing in what the company expects to be a strong performance starting in the second half of this year. But if margin pressure gets in the way – and RBC already has disappointed on that front in the past – growth will disappoint, and that premium multiple will come down.

RBC doesn’t have much of a short interest — barely 1% of the float — and it has held its valuation for some time. But the chart of late looks weaker, and if trade fears do ramp up, ROLL seems likely to head down.

Stocks to Short: Harley-Davidson (HOG) Stocks to Short: Harley-Davidson (HOG)Source: Crysis Rubel via Flickr (Modified)

Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) already was a heavy short target before the events of the last few weeks. That’s still the case, with almost 15% of the float sold short. And those shorts are winning, with HOG down nearly 17% YTD after a disappointing Q4 earnings report in late January.

I wrote ahead of that report that Harley-Davidson was riding into irrelevance, and I still believe that to be the case. Sales are stagnant even in a growing economy. The idea that millennials are going to buy loud, unsafe Harleys strikes me as somewhere between overly optimistic and delusional. To be fair, Harley-Davidson has struggled with the strong dollar, but even as the yen has strengthened, competitors like Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (OTCMKTS:YAMHF) are having success.

Trade concerns only add to an already-solid short case here, even with HOG trading at a ‘cheap’ 11x forward EPS multiple.

Harley-Davidson has admitted it could see a “significant impact” on sales in the case of rising tariffs. The European Union already has targeted the company in response to the initial steel and aluminum tariffs. HOG stock didn’t need any more bad news, but considering its debt, higher input costs, and lower sales, there’s a combination for a very severe downturn in Harley-Davidson stock, particularly if trade wars escalate.

Stocks to Short: Cloud Peak Energy (CLD) Stocks to Short: Cloud Peak Energy (CLD)Source: Via Stock Snap

President Trump has made no secret of his desire to help coal companies, and he has already taken steps toward that goal. But a battle with China very well may do more harm than good — and impact coal stocks like Cloud Peak Energy Inc. (NYSE:CLD).

It’s China whose demand actually has driven higher U.S. coal exports of late. But China could pull the rug out on that growth. China clearly has targeted Trump’s base in its initial response — and that could lead to either tariffs on coal and/or a pivot to other suppliers like Australia and Indonesia.

As the weakest publicly traded producer, that makes CLD worth a look from the short side. Cloud Peak is reliant on thermal coal, unlike, say, Arch Coal Inc (NYSE:ARCH), whose coking coal is used in steel production. Demand for thermal coal (used for power production) is in a long-term decline both in the U.S. and abroad, no matter how the Administration tries to help.

Heading into 2018, Cloud Peak was expecting a ~20% increase in exports in 2018 — without that demand, sales and profits are likely to fall. The stock already has fallen 44% just since mid-January, as investor sentiment clearly has turned negative.

Adjusted EBITDA was stable in 2017 after a significant decline the year before – but a rebound looks unlikely. With a concerning high debt load, and borrowing costs of 12%, there’s a potential for a restructuring down the line. (Both Arch and Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE:BTU) have recently emerged from bankruptcy themselves.) Any pressure from a trade war could accelerate that timeline — and provide 100% return to a short.

Stocks to Short: LSI Industries (LYTS) Stocks to Short: LSI Industries (LYTS)Source: Shutterstock

Admittedly, LSI Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ:LYTS) is an out-of-the-box short here. The case for shorting LYTS perhaps isn’t quite as strong, and comes down more to a potential trade ahead of the company’s first quarter report later this month.

But LSI, who manufactures lighting and signage for retail companies (among them gas stations), does have exposure to trade fears in a number of ways. The first is in terms of input cost inflation. Per the company’s 10-K, raw materials account for 60% of the company’s cost of sales. And the cost of those raw materials already is rising — climbing 5-6% in fiscal 2017, with inflation continuing into calendar 2018.

So far, LSI has been able to offset those hikes with internal improvements. Indeed, LYTS stock soared after a strong fiscal Q2 report in January. But the pressure may be rising. And with China a major manufacturer of LED lighting, tariffs could disrupt that supply chain for LSI as well.

At the same time, the overall lighting market remains weak. And retrofitting spend may come down further if LSI customers see reason to be nervous about the broader economy. With LYTS trading at a mid-teen EBITDA multiple, the combination of slowing (or negative) revenue growth and higher costs could lead to an ugly fiscal Q3. And it could send LYTS down big, particularly if that EBITDA margin drops toward 10-12x.

Stocks to Short: Callaway Golf (ELY) Stocks to Short: Callaway Golf (ELY)Source: Shutterstock

Callaway Golf Co (NYSE:ELY) is another short based on the thesis that raw material costs will rise. Callaway obviously has substantial sensitivity to metal prices — steel in particular — which could affect margins.

And that would be a problem for Callaway, because its sales growth simply isn’t that torrid. The company expects just 2-3% revenue growth in 2018, outside of help from a recent acquisition. Callaway has done a phenomenal job of late taking market share, including in golf balls, but flat end markets suggest any pricing pressure could be an issue long-term.

Meanwhile, ELY stock is hardly cheap, trading at roughly 25x the midpoint of 2018 EPS guidance. Add to that potential pressure in the Chinese market itself – Asia ex-Japan drove 6% of 2017 sales – and there’s a case to make a quick buck on the short side from ELY. Moderate EPS growth projections just a bit and cut the EPS multiple down to a still-hefty 20-22x and Callaway stock drops as much as 20%.

Stocks to Short: PolyOne (POL) Stocks to Short: PolyOne (POL)Source: Via LyondellBasell

Keeping with the input cost theme, PolyOne Corporation (NYSE:POL) may be an under-the-radar victim of tariffs. The specialty chemical manufacturer already is struggling with pricing pressure, leading to weakness coming out of its Q4 earnings report in January. China’s initial tariff list included 44 chemicals, which raised alarms in the petrochemical industry served by PolyOne.

So far, PolyOne has been able to offset the pricing pressure, with 2017 the company’s eighth straight year of adjusted EPS growth. But a multi-year economic recovery has helped, and consensus expectations of 15% EPS growth this year look too high.

Here, too, there’s a case for a combination effect of both lower margins and lower sales. And while POL isn’t particularly expensive at 15x forward EPS, the cyclical nature of the space generally leads to low multiples. It’s not hard to see POL stumbling at some point this year, which at least could send the stock back toward the mid-30s range at which it traded last year — roughly 20% downside from current levels.

Stocks to Short: Campbell’s Soup (CPB) Stocks to Short: Campbell's Soup (CPB)Source: Meal Makeover Moms via Flickr (Modified)

As I’ve written several times in the past, I don’t particularly like the CPG (consumer packaged goods) space. Within that space, Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB) looks like one of the weakest offerings – and an attractive short on its own.

Indeed, 12% of CPB’s float already is sold short. And with the stock down by one-third from 2016 levels, the shorts have been right so far. I don’t think that trade is over yet, either.

Campbell’s is the most indebted among major food companies. Investors were unimpressed with the company’s expensive acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance, and soup sales are falling. CPB may look cheap on an EPS basis, but including the debt its EV/EBITDA multiple still is in line with faster-growing companies. And that debt could pressure the stock if Campbell’s can’t execute a turnaround over the next couple of quarters.

On top of all of that, Campbell’s aluminum prices are going to rise – as the company itself has said. And with little room for the company to raise prices in a brutal grocery space, that could further pressure margins.

More broadly, Campbell Soup hardly seems a good business at the moment. It’s a low-growth giant at a time when smaller, nimbler companies are winning in food. All told, CPB still looks like a short. And to hedge that short, investors can go long J M Smucker Co (NYSE:SJM), which has a few of the same category risks and much, much better rewards.

Stocks to Short: Tiffany (TIF) Tiffany & Co. (TIF) Stock Looks Risky at These Elevated Levels Source: Shutterstock

Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) could have a very real problem if a trade war escalates. Growth already is pretty tepid, with the company’s Q4 sales and full-year outlook both disappointing investors last month. TIF stock still looks reasonably expensive, at 22.5x the midpoint of that EPS guidance. As both Luke Lango and Will Healy argued on this site, Tiffany already looked like an avoid at best.

The company is struggling with its engagement ring business. Millennials aren’t interested. But the company’s one clear growth engine was…China. China represented roughly 60% of the company’s Asia-Pacific sales in 2017, according to the 10-K. That’s about 16% of the company’s total sales. And the Asia-Pacific region was the one bright spot in terms of 2017 sales, with 8% constant-currency growth, most of which came from China.

Take that growth driver away – whether through tariffs, regulation, or anti-American sentiment from Chinese customers – and Tiffany starts to look a low-growth dinosaur. And that’s not a profile that is going to garner a 20x+ EPS multiple. TIF stock has bounced largely on turnaround hopes and the growth opportunity in Asia. If one of those two pillars of the bull case crumbles, Tiffany stock is going to do the same.

Stocks to Short: La-Z-Boy (LZB) Stocks to Short: La-Z-Boy (LZB)Source: Shuttershock

The entire consumer furniture space, including La-Z-Boy Incorporated (NYSE:LZB) has been choppy at best for years now. And that’s a pretty significant concern. Given a strong U.S. economy and a solid (if not roaring) housing market, profit growth should be much more impressive than it has been, particularly the past few years.

That’s particularly true for LZB, whose 4-4-5 strategy has involved buying licensed stores and building out new locations. Yet increased marketing costs and higher raw material prices have pressured margins, and LZB shares really haven’t moved for about four years now.

The short case for LZB is that potential trade pressure will be just enough to tip earnings negative – and push the stock down into the mid-20s, at least. La-Z-Boy imports from Chinese suppliers; it could face cost inflation there. Steel prices could hurt. So could polyurethane (used for foam) if chemical tariffs are expanded.

Meanwhile, La-Z-Boy will struggle to take pricing. Wayfair Inc (NYSE:W) is competing on price (and losing money in the process). Smaller rivals Bassett Furniture Industries Inc. (NASDAQ:BSET) and Hooker Furniture Corporation (NASDAQ:HOFT) both have cited success in the motion upholstery category – the most important for La-Z-Boy.

With no debt on the balance sheet, LZB isn’t likely to plunge. But investors looking for a quick double-digit return on trade fears, or a weak fiscal Q4 report in June, should consider shorting or selling calls in LZB.

As of this writing, Vince Martin is long shares of Hooker Furniture Corporation, and has no positions in any other securities mentioned.

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For Tesla, Less Is More

Page 14 of Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) 2017 10-K states:

Segment Information

We operate as two reportable segments: automotive and energy generation and storage.

The automotive segment includes the design, development, manufacturing, and sales of electric vehicles. The energy generation and storage segment includes the design, manufacture, installation, and sale or lease of stationary energy storage products and solar energy systems, and sale of electricity generated by our solar energy systems to customers.

As stated, Tesla has two reportable business segments, the automotive segment and the energy generation and storage segment.

What does “Full Disclosure” mean to the SEC and to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB, which governs the accounting standards that public companies must comply with)? It is a basic Generally Accepted Accounting Principle (GAAP). As stated on page 1,314 of “Intermediate Accounting by Kieso, Weygandt, and Warfield, 2010:

The full disclosure principle calls for financial reporting of any financial facts significant enough to influence the judgment of an informed reader.”

The same page also states:

For example, recently the SEC required companies to provide expanded disclosures about their contractual obligations. In light of the off-balance sheet accounting frauds at companies like Enron, the benefits of these expanded disclosures seem fairly obvious to the investing public.”

I’ve stated it a number of times and I’ve seen other posters on SA state the same thing, and that is that Tesla does not seem transparent enough with its financial reporting. That thought came into focus when I thought about the company’s reportable business segments. I knew there was a specific standard or two that governed segment reporting. So, I decided to research the matter and see what information was required to be reported and then compare that with what Tesla reported, as well as what other companies, with more than one reportable segment reported.

The accounting standard governing business segment reporting is Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (SFAS) 131: Disclosures About Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information. SFAS 131 replaced SFAS 14: Financial Reporting for Segments of a Business Enterprise in 1997. The reason for the updated standard on business segment reporting was because financial analysts found SFAS 14 inadequate. (See paragraphs 42 and after of the Standard). They wanted financial statement data to be disaggregated to a greater degree than required by SFAS 14.

With FASB changing over to the accounting standards codification (ASC), this standard is now ASC 280: Segment Reporting, but it’s the same content as SFAS 131. Because the content is identical, I will refer to text from SFAS 131, instead of ASC 280. The codification is harder to access because you have to register at FASB’s website, so I can’t link to the text with it, whereas SFAS 131’s text is readily accessible.

SFAS 131 requires that a public business enterprise report financial and descriptive information about its reportable operating segments. Operating segments are components of an enterprise about which separate financial information is available that’s evaluated regularly by the chief operating decision maker (CODM) in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. Generally, financial information is required to be reported on the basis that it is used internally for evaluating segment performance and deciding how to allocate resources to segments.

The reason that SFAS 131 was created was to:

Better understand the enterprise’s performance through expanded disclosures. Better assess its prospects for future net cash flows. Make more informed judgments about the enterprise as a whole.

It appears that Tesla meets the technical requirements of SFAS 131: Disclosures About Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information, but has failed to comply with the spirit of the standard. That’s my opinion after researching this subject.

SFAS 131 requires that a public business enterprise report a measure of profit or loss, certain specific revenue and expense items, and assets by segment. It also requires reconciliations of total segment revenues, total segment profit or loss, total segment assets, and other amounts disclosed for segments to corresponding amounts in the enterprise’s general-purpose financial statements. Information about the revenues derived from the enterprise’s products or services, about the countries in which the enterprise earns revenues and hold assets, and about major customers also is required to be reported, regardless of whether that information is used in making operating decisions.

An operating segment of an enterprise is defined by SFAS 131, paragraph 10 as:

10 …a component of an enterprise:

a. That engages in business activities from which it may earn revenues and incur expenses (including revenues and expenses relating to transactions with other components of the same enterprise).

b. Whose operating results are regularly reviewed by the enterprise’s CODM to make decisions about resources to be allocated to the segment and assess its performance, and

c. For which discrete financial information is available.”

Then paragraph 12 states:

12. The term chief operating decision maker identifies a function, not necessarily a manager with a specific title. That function is to allocate resources to and assess the performance of the segments of an enterprise.”

This means that the CODM, as defined in the previous paragraph, may be a group of persons and not just one person.

The following defines what a “reportable business segment” is which requires disaggregated segment reporting:

Quantitative Thresholds

18. An enterprise shall report separately information about an operating segment that meets any of the following quantitative thresholds:

a. Its reported revenue, including both sales to external customers and intersegment sales or transfers, is 10 percent or more of the combined revenue, internal and external, of all reported operating segments.

b. The absolute amount of its reported profit or loss is 10 percent or more of the greater, in absolute amount, of (1) the combined reported profit of all operating segments that did not report a loss or (2) the combined reported loss of all operating segments that did report a loss.

c. Its assets are 10 percent or more of the combined assets of all operating segments.

So, now we know what business segments are and which business segments must be reported separately from consolidated amounts.

I’m including here the SEC’s explanation of why it changed its guidance to conform to SFAS 131.

Let’s now examine, from SFAS 131, what is required to be disclosed by reported operating segments:

Disclosures

25. An enterprise shall disclose the following:

a. General information as described in paragraph 26

b. Information about reported segment profit or loss, including certain revenues and expenses included in reported segment profit or loss, segment assets, and the basis of measurement, as described in paragraphs 27-31

c. Reconciliations of the totals of segment revenues, reported profit or loss, assets, and other significant items to corresponding enterprise amounts as described in paragraph 32

d. Interim period information as described in paragraph 33.

26. An enterprise shall disclose the following general information:

a. Factors used to identify the enterprise’s reportable segments, including the basis of organization (for example, whether management has chosen to organize the enterprise around differences in products and services, geographic areas, regulatory environments, or a combination of factors and whether operating segments have been aggregated).

b. Types of products and services from which each reportable segment derives its revenues.”

Information about Profit or Loss and Assets

27. An enterprise shall report a measure of profit or loss and total assets for each reportable segment. An enterprise also shall disclose the following about each reportable segment if the specified amounts are included in the measure of segment profit or loss reviewed by the chief operating decision maker:

a. Revenues from external customers

b. Revenues from transactions with other operating segments of the same enterprise

c. Interest revenue

d. Interest expense

e. Depreciation, depletion, and amortization expense

f. Unusual items as described in paragraph 26 of APB Opinion No. 30, Reporting the Results of Operations – Reporting the Effects of Disposal of a Segment of a Business, and Extraordinary, Unusual and Infrequently Occurring Events and Transactions

g. Equity in the net income of investees accounted for my the equity method

h. Income tax expense or benefit

i. Extraordinary items

j. Significant noncash items other than depreciation, depletion, and amortization expense.

28. An enterprise shall disclose the following about each reportable segment if the specified amounts are included in the determination of segment assets reviewed by the chief operating decision maker:

a. The amount of investment in equity method investees.

b. Total expenditures for additions to live-lived assets other than financial instruments, long-term customer relationships of a financial institution, mortgage and other servicing rights, deferred policy acquisition costs, and deferred tax assets.

Now we come to a very important part of the standard. It’s this paragraph that seems to be a loophole for Tesla to circumvent what was intended by SFAS 131.

Measurement

29. The amount of each segment item reported shall be the measure reported to the chief operating decision maker for purposes of making decisions about allocating resources to the segment and assessing its performance. Adjustments and eliminations made in preparing an enterprise’s general-purpose financial statements and allocations of revenues, expenses, and gains or losses shall be included in determining reported segment profit or loss only if they are included in the measure of the segment’s profit or loss that’s used by the chief operating decision maker. Similarly, only those assets that are included in the measure of the segment’s assets that’s used by the chief operating decision maker shall be reported for that segment. If amounts are allocated to reported segment profit or loss or assets, those amounts shall be allocated on a reasonable basis.”

Are you still with me? It is a lot to digest. There is more, but I want to stop here and begin the analysis of Tesla’s disclosures. Tesla reports its business segment information under Note 23 of the 2017 10-K, pages 117 and 118:

Note 23 Segment Reporting and Information about Geographic Areas

We have two operating and reportable segments: (i) automotive and (ii) energy generation and storage. The automotive segment includes the design, development, manufacturing and sales of electric vehicles. Additionally, the automotive segment is also comprised of services and other, which includes after-sales vehicle services, used vehicle sales, powertrain sales and services by Grohmann. The energy generation and storage segment includes the design, manufacture, installation and sales of solar energy generation and energy storage products. Our CODM does not evaluate operating segments using asset or liability information. The following table presents revenues and gross margins by reportable segment (in thousands):”

Note on page 117 that Tesla’s “measure of profit or loss” which they use “for purposes of making decisions about allocating resources to the segment and assessing its performance” is Gross Profit.

At this point I have to ask: Really? You mean to say that Mr. Musk and Mr. Ahuja, or whoever the CODM is, meet with the people responsible for the two business segments to review operating performance and the only measure of profit or loss that they review is Gross Profit? Are you serious?

I mean, you have business segment operating expenses like:

Payroll for design, development, manufacturing, and sales. SG&A for both operating segments, like utilities, telephones both stationary and mobile, internet usage charges, and general office supplies for administrative employees and sales employees. Depreciation for general purpose office equipment like computers, printers, telephones, desks, chairs. Depreciation on the buildings that house administrative and sales employees. Amortization on computer software used to manage both segments. Marketing costs Other things I have not mentioned or thought of.

All of these costs can be easily identified with either the Automotive segment or the Energy Generation and Storage segment. I am certain that Tesla’s CODM reviews these business segment costs and reviews operating income or loss by business segment in order to assess operating performance for each segment. But, SFAS 131 doesn’t define what the term “a measure of profit or loss” is. Therefore, the Standard provides Tesla with a loophole whereby they are not required to disclose operating income or loss by business segment. As a consequence, in Tesla’s case the new Standard provides a loophole whereby less disaggregated financial information may be disclosed than the old one. That’s exactly the opposite of what was intended with the issuance of the new Standard.

To support my claim that Tesla’s CODM looks at details of operating performance on a segment level basis that go well beyond the Gross Profit level, Take a look at this article from October 25, 2017.

” Tesla said at the time of the acquisition it would cut costs by $150 million in the first full year after closing the deal, which will occur November 21, 2017. SolarCity cofounders Peter and Lyndon Rive have both left the company since it was acquired by Tesla. The Rives are cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “

The word “synergies,” however, means cost cutting, and at least some of the cost cutting will come in the form of layoffs.

Like all companies, Tesla conducts an annual performance review during which a manager and employee discuss the results that were achieved, as well as how those results were achieved, during the performance period. This includes both constructive feedback and recognition of top performers with additional compensation and equity awards, as well as promotions in many cases. As with any company, especially one of over 33,000 employees, performance reviews also occasionally result in employee departures. Tesla is continuing to grow and hire new employees around the world.”

SFAS 131 provides an example of Segment Information to be reported, in paragraph 122:

Diversified Company evaluates performance based on profit or loss from operations before income taxes not including nonrecurring gains and losses and foreign exchange gains and losses.”

Did you get that? The example in SFAS 131, itself, uses what to evaluate performance? Operating Income or Loss.

The example company also has a finance segment that meets the reportable segment criteria. Tesla has a finance division in its Auto Segment. That division doesn’t meet the reportable segment criteria? Interesting. Very interesting.

IMO, Tesla does, in fact, assess business segment performance at the operating income or loss level. My own accounting work experience tells me that. Common sense tells you that. I was born at night, but not last night. So, even though Tesla meets the technical requirements of SFAS 131, by reporting “a measure of profit or loss,” the company fails to comply with the very intent of the standard, in my opinion.

There’s another matter, also, the reporting of segment assets. Tesla doesn’t report their assets by segment, but only by a consolidated total. Again, it appears that Tesla meets the technical requirements of SFAS 131, but fails to comply with its spirit. Within Note 23 of the 2017 10-K, on page 117, Tesla states: Our CODM does not evaluate operating segments using asset or liability information.

Paragraph 29 of the standard states: “The amount of each segment item reported shall be the measure reported to the chief operating decision maker for purposes of making decisions about allocating resources to the segment and assessing its performance. “

So, with Tesla’s statement, they comply with the technical requirements of the standard since, according to the company, the CODM doesn’t evaluate operating segments using asset or liability information.

But, is it really true that Tesla doesn’t evaluate segment operating performance or the allocation of resources (assets) using asset information? Has Tesla consolidated SolarCity and reduced the amount of assets under its management, as a result? Yes, they have. Does Tesla continue to monitor and manage the amount of its assets, company wide? Obviously, they do. And what about “capex?” So if this isn’t reviewing resource allocation (assets) and making decisions about resource allocation (assets), then I’m from Mars. I think any public company manages the allocation of resources using asset information, as can readily be seen by the asset information provided by other enterprises with more than one segment. Ford (NYSE:F), GM (NYSE:GM), John Deere (NYSE:DE), GE (NYSE:GE), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), and every other company that I’ve researched, that has more than one business segment, provides operating income, asset information, depreciation, and other information by segment. But not Tesla. I find it hard to believe that Tesla doesn’t review and evaluate operating performance or resource allocation with asset information.

Let’s go on, now, and review a few other paragraphs of the standard.

32. An enterprise shall provide reconciliations of all of the following:

a. The total of the reportable segment’s revenues to the enterprise’s consolidated revenues.

b. The total of the reportable segments’ measures of profit or loss to the enterprise’s consolidated income before income taxes, extraordinary items, discontinued operations, and the cumulative effect of changes in accounting principles.

c. The total of the reportable segments’ assets to the enterprise’s consolidated assets.

d. The total of the reportable segments’ amounts for every other significant item of information disclosed to the corresponding consolidated amount.

All significant reconciling items shall be separately identified and described. For example, the amount of each significant adjustment to reconcile accounting methods used in determining segment profit or loss to the enterprise’s consolidated amounts shall be separately identified and described.

Tesla includes a reconciliation of its reportable segment revenues to consolidated revenues. But I don’t see a reconciliation of the reportable segments’ profit or loss to the consolidated income or loss before income taxes, extraordinary items, etc. And a reconciliation of the reportable segments’ assets to consolidated assets is missing.

Then there’s paragraph 38 about reporting revenues from external customers by geographic region, and long-lived assets by geographic region. Tesla complies with this.

Then there’s paragraph 39:

Information about Major Customers

39. An enterprise shall provide information about the extent of its reliance on its major customers. If revenues from transactions with a single external customer amount to 10 percent or more of an enterprise’s revenues, the enterprise shall disclose that fact, the total amount of revenues from each such customer, and the identity of the segment or segments reporting the revenues. The enterprise need not disclose the identity of a major customer or the amount of revenues that each segment reports from that customer.

Tesla doesn’t provide any information in this regard, so, apparently it doesn’t derive at least 10 percent of its revenues from just one customer.

So, that’s the standard and you can review it at FASB’s website here.

Let’s further evaluate the adequacy of Tesla’s disclosures about its business segments by revealing what was intended when SFAS 131 replaced SFAS 14.

First, let’s review the statements of the sole FASB Board Member (there are seven board members) who dissented from the issuance of SFAS 131:

This Statement was adopted by the affirmative votes of six members of the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Mr. Leisenring dissented.

Mr. Leisenring dissents from the issuance of this Statement because it does not define segment profit or loss and does not require that whatever measure of profit or loss is reported be consistent with the attribution of assets to reportable segments.

By not defining segment profit or loss, this Statement allows any measure of performance to be displayed as segment profit or loss as long as that measure is reviewed by the chief operating decision maker. Items of revenue and expense directly attributable to a given segment need not be included in the reported operating results of that segment, and no allocation of items not directly attributable to a given segment is required. As a consequence, an item that results directly from one segment’s activities can be excluded from that segment’s profit or loss. Mr. Leisenring believes that, minimally, this Statement should require that amounts directly incurred by or directly attributable to a segment be included in that segment’s profit or loss and that assets identified with a particular segment be consistent with the measurement of that segment’s profit of loss.

Mr. Leisenring supports trying to assist users as described in paragraph 3 of this Statement but believes it is very unlikely that will be accomplished, even with the required disclosures and reconciliations to the entity’s annual financial statements, because of the failure to define profit or loss and to impose any attribution or allocation requirements for the measure of profit or loss.

Mr Leisenring supports the management approach for defining reportable segments and supports disclosure of selected segment information in condensed financial statements of interim periods issued to shareholders. Mr. Leisenring believes, however, that the definitions of revenues, operating profit or loss, and identifiable assets in paragraph 10 of Statement 14 should be retained in this Statement and applied to segments identified by the management approach.

I concur with Mr. Leisenring. Without defining profit or loss, companies like Tesla can skirt the spirit and intent of the new standard, as we see being done in Tesla’s 10-K, in my opinion.

So, I have a question. Is there any “material” information which Note 23 of Tesla’s financials discloses that isn’t contained within its Consolidated Income Statement? Very little, in my opinion. The intent of SFAS 131 was that MORE disaggregated financial data would be disclosed than was disclosed under SFAS 14. That isn’t the case with Tesla.

Here is the intent of the new Standard, in paragraphs 42 through 45:

Background Information

42. FASB Statement No. 14, Financial Reporting for Segments of a Business Enterprise, was issued in 1976. That Statement required that business enterprises report segment information on two bases: By industry and by geographic area. It also required disclosure of information about export sales and major customers.

43. The Board concluded at the time it issued Statement 14 that information about components of an enterprise, the products and services that it offers, its foreign operations, and its major customers is useful for understanding and making decisions about the enterprise as a whole……

44. In its 1993 position paper, Financial Reporting in the 1990s and Beyond, the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR) said:

(Segment data) is vital, essential, fundamental, indispensable, and integral to the investment analysis process. Analysts need to know and understand how the various components of a multifaceted enterprise behave economically. One weak member of the group is analogous to a section of blight on a piece of fruit – it has the potential to spread rot over the entirety. Even in the absence of weakness, different segments will generate dissimilar streams of cash flows to which are attached disparate risks and which bring about unique values. Thus, without disaggregation, there is no sensible way to predict the overall amounts, timing, or risks of a complete enterprise’s future cash flows. There is little dispute over the analytic usefulness of disaggregated financial data. (Pages 59 and 60).

45. Over the years, financial analysts consistently requested that financial statement data be disaggregated to a much greater degree than it is in current practice. Many analysts said that they found Statement 14 helpful but inadequate. In its 1993 position paper, the AIMR emphasized that:

There is no disagreement among AIMR members that segment information is totally vital to their work. There also is general agreement among them that the current segment reporting standard, Financial Accounting Standard No. 14, is inadequate.

Then, paragraph 93 of SFAS 131 states:

Although this Statement requires disclosure of more information about an individual operating segment than Statement 14 required for an industry segment, ….”

Clearly, what was intended with the new Standard was more disaggregated data, not less. But, with Tesla, less is more. I give Tesla a grade of F for this section of their 10-K. Their Business Segments are something of a “black box” due to the lack of disclosure about them.

In Contrast, I present John Deere’s Disclosure Note on Reported Segments. It’s three pages long:



I’ll wrap up the article with this. Where’s the beef? When businesses become materially diversified, investors and investment analysts want more information about the details behind the consolidated financial statements. In particular, they want Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow information on the individual segments that compose the total income or loss figures.

Much information is hidden in the consolidated numbers. If an investor or an analyst has only the consolidated figures, he or she cannot tell the extent to which differing product lines contribute to the company’s profitability (or lack of), risk and growth potential. Earnings of the individual segments enable investors and the analyst to evaluate the differences between segments in growth rate, risk, and profitability, and to forecast consolidated profits. SFAS 14 was written to better serve the investor and analysts by requiring segmented information be made available, including operating income or loss and the assets contributing to that income or loss. SFAS 131 replaced SFAS 14 so that even more and better segmented data would be made available. Tesla defeats the purpose for which SFAS 131 was issued, since it provides less information about operating income and assets (no data) than it would have been required to report under SFAS 14.

In short, take away Note 23 of Tesla’s 10-K and little material information has been omitted, meaning Note 23 tells us little more about the business segments than if the Note were not present.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: I may buy puts on Tesla when and if the price reaches $350
It is highly risky to short this stock. Please understand the risks fully before doing so.