NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Representative of the high-end of the consumer economy, Tiffany's (TIF) - Get Tiffany & Co. Report results are often taken as a bellwether -- the Alcoa (AA) - Get Alcoa Corporation Report or Wal-Mart (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report of the wealthy -- so it's important to get it right.
You know where we're going with this, right?
Tiffany reported their first-quarter results yesterday. Though the company seemed to be throwing off signs earlier in the year that the luxury-goods market might be getting its groove back, nothing doing here.
Results were terrible.
But there the media went again, with a good number of headlines that were -- well, not so indicative of terrible results. Take The Associated Press, for example. Their headline said: "Tiffany's profit essentially flat, cuts outlook."
You hear that? Their profit was essentially flat. That's not terrible, right? Wrong.
Tiffany earned 64 cents a share, compared with 63 cents a year ago. That means that The Associated Press was, on the most basic level, passing along a reality -- and at least they mentioned the light outlook. But it's not enough of a telling reality. The Associated Press didn't let you know until near the end of the article that expectations were for 69 cents a share.
Sure, it was essentially flat, but that's a huge miss. Terrible. It is representative of a huge level of overconfidence in the high-end consumer.
Forbes got it right. It's headline read: "No life of luxury: Tiffany plunges."
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.
Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.
For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
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