What The Earnings Reports Don't Tell You

Here's how to find the real story behind the numbers

The curtain is rising on the third-quarter-earnings drama, and the setting is ominous: slower economic growth, higher oil prices, and a weak and stumbling euro. U.S. corporations will be hard-pressed to deliver crowd-pleasing profits in this scenario, and so now more than ever companies are likely to resort to various accounting games--all perfectly legal--to puff up their profits and win over the audience.

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