Dollars and Jens
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Double Negatives
I'm currently dealing with an earnings report from a company that I'll decline to name that labels a particular line of negative numbers as "gain on disposition of assets". Obviously, this means that the company sold property at a loss in each reporting period, right? No -- it seems that their gains were positive, but they felt like using negative numbers because -- in this example -- the gain reduces operating cash flow (relative to earnings).

And the reason they didn't simply indicate that these were negative losses, perhaps using an explicit label like "loss (gain) on disposition of assets"? I'll leave that question for the psychiatrists.

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