Earnings are one of the most important evaluation tools investors can use in assessing a company's health and future potential for share price appreciation.
Knowing that, it is no wonder history is littered with examples of companies using aggressive if not dubious accounting tools to beat Wall Street estimates and gain investor favor. For better or worse, history has a tendency to repeat itself in financial markets, meaning an emphasis on earnings quality is important to investors' returns. That is the concept behind the Forensic Accounting ETF (FLAG).
FLAG tracks the Del Vecchio Earnings Quality Index, which assigns 500 large-cap stocks a grade of A through F based on Del Vecchio's "earnings quality" methodology. The index looks for aggressive revenue recognition, inventory issues, reserve concerns, large changes in operation expenses, large changes in operation income and tax issues. The index would then exclude F ranked stocks, instead of
The investing public tends to place a great deal of faith in the forecasts of economists. To be frank, I am not entirely sure why. An overwhelming majority missed the impact that well-documented declines in real estate were having on the economy in 2007.
Here in 2014, the latest housing data may be showing cracks as well. For example, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) puts out a monthly housing market index. In February, the index plummeted to 46, then experienced an underwhelming rebound to 47 in March. Members lack enthusiasm for building conditions whenever the index is below 50. Many economists have dismissed the sour sentiment on the basis of extremely poor weather. However, these are builder expectations about future sales. Wouldn't shifts in the moods of executives be tied more to people's desire and ability to purchase properties than to seasonal affective disorder?
Data on the actual