Subscribers to the $1,700-a-month Bloomberg terminal have gotten a gift in the last couple of quarters:
Earnings reports for Disney, NetApp, and other companies have appeared on the system hours before they were publicly released.
If you’re a trader, of course, this is manna from heaven. The news is on the Bloomberg, so it’s not like it’s “inside information” anymore. And yet all the schmoes who just check CNBC and Yahoo Finance won’t get it for hours. So you can go ahead and take your position and then dump it as soon as the news hits the broader tape.
So how is Bloomberg pulling off this miraculous trick?
It’s using its head! And its massive global technology team, says Ali O’Rourke.
It turns out that some companies don’t want to wait until the 4PM market close to post their earnings online, perhaps because they’re worried they’ll forget. So what they do is post them online earlier, but don’t link to the page from their web sites. This renders the page invisible–unless you know what to look for.
Humans are creatures of habit, and the humans who post earnings releases on company web sites are no different than any other humans.
Which means that if the web-page URL for a company’s second quarter’s earnings release was, say:
It’s probably a safe bet that the URL for the third quarter’s earnings release will be:
So the folks at Bloomberg just set their system up to ping the company’s server constantly in the hours before the press release is due to appear, in the hope that some dolt in investor relations will publish it before the market closes.
And as the past several quarters have shown, many companies are happy to oblige.
So start pinging those servers, folks. Now that the “expert network” racket has been busted up, it’s the best new way to get inside information!
(via Ali O’Rourke)
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