There it is, plain as day, on my conference call alerts calendar, but I don’t quite believe it:
Q4 Sears Holdings Corp Earnings Conference Call 2/23/12 8:00 a.m.
There’s a phone number and a password, so it’s gotta be real. If it is real, and it does take place, it’ll be the first time Sears has deigned to hold an earnings conference call during the Lampert years, as far as I can recall.
Hell, it appears, has frozen over.
What might it mean? Why now? Well, let’s think about this once-in-a-career announcement for a second.
For starters, the fact that Sears is holding a conference call means the news is probably not very good. After all, good news takes care of itself, but bad news needs explaining.
Still, that’s nothing the market doesn’t already anticipate—the bid/ask on the Sears Acceptance Corp credit default swaps is a whopping 1475/1583 on my Bloomberg at the moment.
More interesting, perhaps, is that the call is scheduled for 8 a.m. E.S. T.
That’s well before the market opens in New York, which means the news is really probably not good at all, since companies with bad news generally don’t hold calls during trading hours, since they don’t want to have their stock bouncing around while the conference call is going on.
I could be wrong, of course. The news could be great. Eddie could be announcing that he’s finally decided to spend a little cash on the business itself, rather than its stock, and is hiring somebody great—like JC Penney did when it hired Apple’s retail genius, Ron Johnson, a move that’s already proved worth every dollar for that faded department store brand—to turn the business around before it’s too late.
Either way, good or bad, the call does mean one thing: Eddie needs Wall Street now, and he needs it more than Wall Street needs Sears.
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