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That's a good point, although I personally haven't seen too many reports that haven't shown the top and bottom lines at the same time. I was curious how prevelant significant differences were, so I threw in a column and worked out the differences individually. I based my percentage on the absolute value of the difference between the two EPS's for the current year divided by the bottom line EPS, then sorted it in ascending order. Of the 197 companies, 132 are 16% or less, and 161 are 32% or less. It quickly escalates up from there though, with 8 companies at the bottom being over 200%, and Cintas being the worst at 1167% (Operating EPS 38 cents, Bottom Line EPS 3 cents). Overall it would seem to me that a good chunk of the market is still playing by the rules, but a lot of companies are doing "extraordinary" things.

While that doesn't necessarily mean those are bad companies... I've known lots of companies to take advantage of a down year to lower all their estimates and take a big bath... it sure shows that the "soundbite EPS reporting" you're talking about doesn't really help investors.
 
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