Finance: What is a whisper number?

What is a whisper number? The rumor mill. The gossip chain. The whisper number is the Wall Street version of those word of mouth speculations. Whisper numbers are allegedly rumored earnings numbers that large producing producers tell their high net worth clients in advance of quarterly report announcements. Of course, whether or not these whisper numbers are genuine insider information or just estimated rumors, they can still raise or lower expectations before official announcements and can thus move markets. Sarbanes-Oxley rules make leaking of actual information from companies much more difficult to maintain without penalty, so whisper numbers are more likely opinion and speculation now more so than ever before.

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Transcript

00:20

twenty times earnings last year be h i earned a

00:23

dollar a share It has a buck or two a

00:25

share in cash and no debt It has communicated a

00:27

wall street through its quarterly conference calls and meetings with

00:31

analysts that it's coughing lee hopes to earn a dollar

00:36

fifty this year a dollar to a dollar fifty what

00:39

we did there with the word coughing Lee you know

00:41

it's not from these cohibas we cough because they cough

00:45

when they say a dollar fifty Why Well because we

00:48

do the math on a few of the key metrics

00:50

they've given us Like they said we're opening another two

00:54

thousand stores in eastern europe almost double our number in

00:58

the u s today and they say we're supply constrained

01:02

just not enough but hair to go around so we're

01:05

shopping for more Apparently slovenia has had excellent harvest this

01:10

year and then they say people are growing older boulder

01:14

and yeah there really is something about all that wifi

01:16

in carrying cellphones in your pocket all the time yeah

01:19

that's what they say and that was the recording of

01:21

them saying it really we were there All right so

01:23

if you had everything up and put the above data

01:25

and a few other teen nuggets of information you've gleaned

01:28

about their hair growth industry perspective well then your financial

01:32

model would show earnings this year something more like three

01:36

or even four dollars a share not that paltry dollar

01:40

fifty that they're telling everyone they hope to make if

01:42

they try really hard So you wonder why on earth

01:45

would the cfo of but harry implants guide analysts in

01:48

making them believe the company would only earn a dollar

01:51

fifty when she and everyone around her thinks that more

01:54

likely the number is going to be three or four

01:56

bucks a share in earnings this year Well lawsuits for

02:00

one puns of ambulance chasing scummy lawyers out there claiming

02:05

they're acting in the best interest of you know bubba

02:07

shareholder they're just waiting for a stock to drop and

02:10

then they sue the company for you know stuff and

02:14

then there's other things not communicating well enough not marketing

02:18

well enough of not being able to predict the supply

02:21

line of their butt hair well enough Yeah you name

02:23

and the lawyers will see you for it Cos also

02:25

love being heroes and they love beating their estimates toe

02:29

wall street all the time It just makes him you

02:31

know feel good under promise over Deliver that thing All

02:33

right So along comes first quarter's earnings and last year's

02:37

first quarter showed earnings of sixteen cents a share Your

02:40

went by quarter like this sixteen twenty three one nine

02:43

Thirty There you go So the street is expecting at

02:46

least thirty two cents in earnings this quarter It'd be

02:49

growth of one hundred percent over the period a year

02:52

ago But one hundred percent growth from last year would

02:55

give the company earnings of two dollars a share So

02:58

that's not what the street is really thinking when it's

03:02

paying one hundred dollars a share for this stock If

03:05

they were actually thinking the stock would really print on

03:08

ly two dollars a share in earnings the stock would

03:10

probably not be trading for one hundred boxes share and

03:14

probably more like fifty there's nothing trades at fifty times

03:17

actual earnings or at least not fifty times what wall

03:21

street actually thinks the company will print The number of

03:23

the street is whispering It took us a long time

03:27

to get there the whisper number thing but we did

03:29

is forty cents a share in earnings there whispering that

03:32

the company says they'll dio something less than forty but

03:36

they better hit forty cents because that's what everyone's whispering

03:38

about If the company hits forty cents in its first

03:41

quarter's earning to report while learning through the rest of

03:43

the year could go something like this you know forty

03:45

fifty sixty seventy and then that would produce to twenty

03:49

years share in earnings and i would be the absolute

03:51

minimum the company would need to keep anything close to

03:54

its huge multiple or stock price It probably needs more

03:57

earnings growth to stay triple digits something like maybe forty

04:01

sixty eighty eight dollars something like that and then you're

04:04

in the three dollars in change number and that would

04:06

work a lot better because then you're only treading it

04:08

Like twenty eight times earnings which is not some astronomical

04:11

multiple Got it all right Well the key idea here

04:14

is that the whisper number is the rial number that

04:17

actual investors care about the company hitting not what the

04:21

stockbrokers sell Side analysts published in their earnings estimates that

04:26

they hoped the company would earn thirty two cents Blah

04:29

ba blah ba blah Yeah can't trust your stockbroker in

04:31

that setting So the key idea here is the number

04:34

that matters is the whisper number whisper number because on

04:38

wall street you don't always die with a yell sometimes

04:42

it's just with a whisper like that so that's a

04:45

whisper number Now go out and buy a bunch of

04:47

b h i stock and remember i'm not on ly 00:04:50.415 --> [endTime] but harry implants client I'm also the president