Earnings season is almost here. To help you get ready, my "
Bad: Merrill Lynch, Third Quarter of 2007Oct. 24, 2007: In anticipation of the release of its quarterly results, Merrill Lynch ( MER) was expected to take a large
Misunderstood: Costco, First Quarter of 2008Dec. 13, 2007: Costco ( COST) had a very good run going into its quarterly earnings report, with the stock breaking out to an all-time high. This was going against the grain of other
Good: Apple, Research In Motion and Dick's Sporting GoodsIt's hard to say which one of last quarter's good conference calls can be regarded as the best (because there are several really good ones). However, three calls do stand out in my mind: Apple ( AAPL), Research In Motion ( RIMM) and Dick's Sporting Goods ( DKS). All of these companies' quarterly reports and earnings conference calls delivered affirmation to the
- Reported better-than-expected results for the most recent quarter.
- Provided robust guidance for the upcoming quarter.
- Quelled any concerns regarding issues that may have lingered with the naysayers, particularly that these companies would be adversely affected by a slowing consumer or economy.
- Demonstrated opportunities for continued future growth.
- Caught the
short-sellersoff guard, with stocks spiking significantly the day after the earnings announcements.
If you want to see what a model growth retailer looks like, take a look at Dick's Sporting Goods. The company is growing in the right geographies and through strategic acquisitions like Galyan's and Golf Galaxy. Heavier reliance on private-label sales helps to increase margins. The company is one of the best, if not the best at managing inventories. I have written about the company on this site for years, and I have to reiterate my opinion that Dick's is a great growth vehicle in retail. On top of that, it is less vulnerable to a consumer pullback than a general merchandiser. Even during the deep dark years of the Jimmy Carter recession, kids played sports, and sports fans still hung on to their Pittsburgh Steelers and Boston Celtics.To listen to an archive of Dick's Sporting Goods' Nov. 20, 2007, call,