ATT and IBM are just two of numerous companies withdrawing their earnings forecasts for 2020 because of the impacts of COVID-19.  It is as it should be.  There is a good chance public companies will end the year with negative earnings the longer the crisis goes on.  Even if governors re-open their states for business, damage has been done.  It would be noble if companies took this action of their own accord, but they haven’t.  They are subject to regulations and lawsuits if they maintain earnings estimates then miss by a large amount.  They would be guilty of failing to maintain transparency.  One never wants to surprise the market with ugly results.  The market’s punishment is swift with the value of equity plummeting instantly.  Constant communications with investors is a necessity, and nothing can be said to institutions that is not also sent to all stockholders.  ATT and IBM’s stock will sag, but it will be orderly, and they will return to good health when their business picks up.  By communicating early, they have maintained trust and credibility.

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