Sunday, July 12, 2020

Corporate America will start publishing its Q2 2020 earnings releases any day now, followed by complete 10-Q filings by end of the month. These will be the first reports to encompass one full quarter in the era of coronavirus, and we’ll all be looking for numbers, narratives, and other disclosures about how Covid-19 is affecting corporate performance.

To help with that, Calcbench offers this list of tips and tricks to help find relevant disclosures quickly.

First, above all, know that companies you want to follow and set up email alerts for when they file something. Calcbench indexes all manner of filings, usually within minutes of those documents hitting the Securities & Exchange Commission database. So your first step is to be in position to receive news of a new filing when it happens.

To establish a peer group of companies you want to follow, just press the “Choose Companies” button you see at the top of most Calcbench search pages, and follow the instructions from there. We also have a detailed post dedicated to peer groups that is worth reading if you’re new to the service.

You can set up email alerts from your account preferences page. We have a detailed post dedicated to this task, too.

Second, rely on the Interactive Disclosures page and our text search capability. Our Interactive Disclosures page is where we index the footnotes and similar disclosures, and remember this law of financial analysis: the most important and juicy stuff is in the footnotes, always!

We recently expanded how subscribers can search corporate disclosures, giving you more ability to narrow the date range. So for example, you could search for all filings from one company (or a set of companies) within the last week or the last month. And you guessed it, we have a detailed post on this feature.

We also urge subscribers to use the text search capability on this page, which is the field on the right side of your screen. There, you can search for terms such as “COVID-19” (all capital letters seems to be the style that filers use), “impairments,” “coronavirus,” or whatever else is on your mind.

Analysts’ best bet might be to combine several of these search features, to get precise, highly relevant results. For example, you could search for “impairment” in earnings releases filed within the last month for whatever peer group of firms you follow, and immediately find who has been taking a write-down since coronavirus began.

Third, when in doubt, visit our Recent Filings page and see who has been updating earnings guidance. We added that category earlier this year, along with all the other types of filings we track — 10-Ks or 10-Qs, proxy statements, earnings releases, and 8-K filings of other news. As always, we have a detailed post dedicated to this subject.

A few other thoughts…

  • Don’t be surprised to see firms report something like “earnings before covid,” with an adjustment to net income. Early research shows that this is indeed happening — and in many instances, the logic behind that move is solid.
  • Expect to see much discussion of impairments to goodwill and other assets. Accounting rules require a test of possible impairment at least once a year, plus whenever extraordinary circumstances demand an interim test. Well, coronavirus is certainly that. Even if a firm decides impairment isn’t necessary, it probably will still explain why it reached that conclusion. Williams Sonoma ($WSM), for example, had an impressive discussion of impairments in June.
  • Look for clues in obscure places. Real estate firms talking about rent payments; retailers talking about same-store sales; impairments for right-of-use operating assets — all those disclosures are one more tile in the economic mosaic everyone is trying to piece together right now.

Personally, we’ll be watching Kimberly-Clark ($KMB) for details of its toilet paper business segment. But whatever data point you’re looking for this quarter, Calcbench has it.

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