NEW YORK (Real Money) -- If you are a stock junkie, like I am, you have to be on a gazillion conference calls. They become chore-like. You have to go through the quick preamble about how everything's fabulous (this even from companies that seem to be flailing or even failing). Then you have to have a 30,000-foot description of the business from the CEO, followed by a boots-on-the-ground exposition by the CFO, culminating in the obligatory guidance paragraph that tends to determine the fate of the stock, no matter what else was said earlier.
Of course, then you have the Q&A and that's usually the stuff of analysts trying to figure out their model, meaning they want to fill that spreadsheet that takes up about two-thirds of their analyst reports, the other third being equally split between analysis and worthless disclosures that waste a lot of paper when you print them.
Occasionally, you will get a conference call with some variant. You might get a little entertainment or pizazz from the CEO, but not too much because then he or she is being silly and nobody likes a silly CEO. You might get a longer-term view, a five-year plan, something that makes you feel that there's some continuity here. And, of course, you might get the code words of the era like "challenging," and "competitive," which means, "We screwed up and we really disappointed you, but it is not our fault." Of course, there's always the real two-worded kiss of death of "promotional environment," which really means "You have to bring down numbers in the future because we have way too much inventory and budgeted totally wrong." That gets distilled into the headline "Cuts Earnings, Sales Below Forecast," which means, "Bang bang, you're dead."