American Commercial Lines' Selective Guidance Disclosure Backfires

Jun.19.07 | About: American Commercial (ACLI)

When most companies lower guidance, they issue a press release. American Commercial Lines (ACLI), a river barge operator, did just that on June 11, and its stock tumbled around 8%.

At the time the company said second quarter guidance would be about the same as the first. Enter this past weekend -- Saturday to be specific: American Commercial told analysts the second quarter would be less than the first. Note I said "told analysts" and not everybody.

The company's CFO sent an email to analysts without putting out a press release. What was he thinking? As you might guess, the analysts told their clients, which led to a 10% drop in the stock Monday. Everybody else had to wait until around 3 p.m. for the news to be released through an 8-K filing with the SEC saying that on June 16th the CFO disclosed what he disclosed without saying who he disclosed it to. Selective disclosure by any other name is...selective disclosure.

ACLI 5 day chart: