Which Number Is The Real Mc Coy?

It's hard to peg earnings when companies calculate the bottom line in different ways

When Amazon.com reported its second-quarter loss on July 21, you might have heard any one of the following numbers: 86 cents, 51 cents, or 42 cents a share. Officially, the online retailer recorded a net loss of $138 million, or 86 cents a share. But Wall Street analysts overlooked that figure in favor of a pro-forma net loss of $82.8 million, or 51 cents a share. The Seattle merchant also disclosed a third figure--a pro-forma operating loss of $67.3 million, or 42 cents a share. Like the other pro-forma result, this number ignored the costs associated with Amazon's recent acquisitions binge.

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