Saturday, August 30, 2008

Great Balance Sheet! Strong Earnings!

by lama on 8/30/2008 10:53:00 AM

A pet peeve of mine is analysts. When is the last time you heard one of them speak about cash flows other than in passing? If you do not address the components of the Statement of Cash Flows, you cannot opine on the strength of the Balance Sheet or Earnings. What’s the problem? The Statement of Cash Flows is conceptually difficult to grasp as it’s traditionally taught. The statement might be called “Statement of all the other assets and activities affected cash.” It’s not that one thing is more important than the other 2, it’s that the stool needs 3 legs.
It’s even more important to know this now. Cash is always nice to have, but even more so in a down market when it’s not so easy to borrow cash. If any of you are buying individual stocks, you have to learn how The Statement of Cash Flows works. It is not possible to assess a company’s condition without understanding it. I surfed around a bit and didn’t find anything that was very good. The Wikipedia entry was as good as any.

Between long hours and airports, I did not have adequate time to assemble an adequate post on the topic but thought it worth a rant.