Company Spokesmen, Reporters Lose Sleep as NYSE Shifts Open

  • Companies push releases before 7 a.m. following rule change
  • Oshkosh press team `setting alarms a little bit earlier'

The earnings times, they are a-changing.

Oshkosh Corp., a maker of specialty vehicles such as fire trucks, published its earnings at 6:45 a.m. New York time Thursday. That’s 5:45 a.m., b’gosh, back at company headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Phoenix-based computer maker Avnet Inc., and Glendale, California-based label maker Avery Dennison Corp. also reported at 6:45 a.m. -- 3:45 a.m. at their home offices. Avery had previously reported at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, Avnet at 8, and Oshkosh at 7.

So sleep-deprived executives, investors and reporters may well ask: “What happened? Where’s my coffee?”

The New York Stock Exchange last month redefined the “trading day” for purposes of company announcements, to 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Companies that report earnings during the trading day have already had an additional obligation to give NYSE Group Inc. 10 minutes’ warning of any information that could affect their stock price, such as earnings. So, to avoid the extra hassle, they’re simply sending out their earnings earlier.

"We’re probably just setting our alarms a little bit earlier," said John Daggett, a spokesman for Oshkosh. "It’s a way to make sure you get the information in at the right time."

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. pushed up their earnings release to 6:59 a.m. on Tuesday, from 7:30 a.m. last quarter, while Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. Inc., which had previously reported at 7 a.m., moved theirs to 6:45 a.m. On Friday morning, CVS Health Corp. and AbbVie Inc. both reported earlier than their typical release times.

NYSE’s notification window is still narrower than rival exchange Nasdaq Inc.’s 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. period. NYSE changed its opening starting Sept. 28 to give companies more time to halt their stock during pre-market hours, according to Kelly Loeffler, a spokeswoman for NYSE’s parent company Intercontinental Exchange Inc. While the close is officially 4 p.m., NYSE recommends that companies reporting after the close wait until 4:15 p.m.

Rudolf Hokanson, an analyst at Barrington Research Associates who rates Oshkosh shares “outperform,” said he didn’t even notice the change on Thursday because he expects any company reporting before the market opens to do so any time between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m.

"Nothing is ever that precise in this stuff," said Hokanson. "If you know it’s going to be in the morning, it’s fair game."

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