IBM, Intel, eBay All Miss Top-Line Estimates

Those who have been following the ongoing "revenue recession" will hardly be surprised that in the trifecta of major corporate earnings releases hitting the tape after the close, there were precisely zero revenue beats. To wit:

  • INTC: Revenue misses $12.81bn, Exp. $12.89 bn, cuts guidance.
  • EBAY: Revenue misses $3.88bn, Exp. $3.89bn, sees earnings and revenue on lower end of guidance.
  • IBM: Revenue misses $24.92 bn vs $25.34 bn; But since this is the largest component of the DJIA, leaving it there may lead to unpleasant consequences for tomorrow's Dow, the company had to inject a mega dose of hopium and boosted its forecast.

Since EPS is the most easily fudgable number in existence (just look at BAC's "non MTM" EPS today), all companies beat on the bottom line. Without looking we will assume that at least 2 out of the 3 are trading higher after hours.  And if not, all the three companies need to do to make the algos forget about the top-line non-growth reality is take a page from the YHOO book, hold a very "edgy" video conference call, and see their stocks up 10% tomorrow.

Of course, everyone will ignore that the relentless decline in revenues is merely a function of depressed CapEx spending, a tapped out consumer, a crash in EM demand, and major FX headwinds, and blame it all on the [hot|cold] weather.

In the meantime, look for FASB petitions to make EPS equal to revenues as quite soon companies will run out of above the line items to fudge.