This commentary on the press reaction to Sotheby's earnings report is available to AMMpro subscribers. Monthly subscriptions come with a free first month grace period. Subscribers are welcome to sign up for the service and cancel at any time before they are billed.
Given the reaction in the press to Sotheby's rising stock in the months leading up to the announcement of Sotheby's first half results and second quarter earnings—a blanket over-confidence that the stock price was a reliable indicator of the firm's underlying performance—it is worth taking a look at how reporters interpreted the most recent earnings.
For the most part, reporters continue to rely upon the sell-side analysts. Here's the Financial Times:
Earnings missed Wall Street’s expectations of $1.48 a share, with David Schick at ConsumerEdge Research noting that the miss could be attributed to “lower auction commission margins” than analysts had modeled for. However, Sotheby’s said on its earnings call that auction commission margins should see “meaningful improvement” in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, revenue in the quarter rose 5 per cent from a year ago to $314.9m, driven by higher inventory sales but were a touch shy of analysts’ estimates of $315.7m.
The problem with following the sell-side is the dearth of comparable companies for the analysts to cover and model against BID. Christie's, the auction house's main peer, is private. So are Phillips and Heritage, two other firms that are more like Sotheby's than not.
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