Earnings calls have become a mouthful

The pandemic has forced CEOs to give up on brevity.


May 21, 2020

Most companies just wrapped up their quarterly earnings calls, and except for big companies like Amazon or Walmart, head honchos had to cushion some pretty rough numbers.

But if you found yourself dozing off listening to the Q&A portion, you probably weren’t alone: Earnings calls this quarter were longer than ever.

Where’s the CliffsNotes version?

According to a Bloomberg analysis of 29 companies on the Dow, the calls were about 10 minutes longer than usual. On the high end, Johnson & Johnson went on for 1 hour and 43 minutes — about 26 minutes above the average.

Outside of the Dow, an earnings call for manufacturing company Emerson Electric dragged on for 2 hours and 45 minutes — so long that one analyst admitted he had to duck out because he was “fixing myself some dinner.”

Even CEOs just need someone to talk to 

Execs are apparently feeling chattier than ever, but some of their comments probably should’ve stayed in the drafts.

Elon Musk made headlines for railing against “fascist” lockdown measures, but other CEOs were also feeling loose-lipped.

In a presentation that featured galloping unicorns, SoftBank head Masayoshi Son acknowledged his string of bad investments but compared himself to Jesus Christ: He, like the Christian prophet, felt his choices were misunderstood.

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