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Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon join forces to convince CEOs to end quarterly profit forecasts

Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon join forces to convince CEOs to end quarterly profit forecasts

Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon have teamed up to once again call for the end to quarterly earnings guidance by companies.

Dimon, the chairman of the Business Roundtable, said the group of CEOs has thrown its support behind companies backing away from the practice.

Executives often feel pressure to make quarterly forecasts, but “it can often put a company in a position where management from the CEO down feels obligated to deliver earnings and therefore may do things that they wouldn’t otherwise have done,” Dimon said in a rare joint interview with Buffett airing Thursday on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

“Quarterly earnings: they’re a function of the weather, commodity prices, volumes, competitor pricing. And you don’t really control that as CEO,” he added. “Sometimes you’re just like the cork in the ocean, but do the right thing anyway and you’re going to be fine in the long run.”

“You should build the systems you need, you should do the R&D that you need and explain it to your shareholders and your board. Of course, some of the CEOs will say it’s the sell side, that we put pressure, but what I’m trying to say to people: be free to drop it.”

Dimon, the chairman and CEO of J. P. Morgan Chase, and Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, wrote about the group’s endorsement in an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal.

It is a long-simmering debate but one that has gotten more attention in an era when activist investors are more vocal about pushing companies to deliver on their promises.

Companies forecast sales and profit numbers to Wall Street analysts, who use it to produce research and stock recommendations for investors. Missing “the number” can often result in big, short-term stock moves. Making a forecast, and then hitting the target, are seen as a way to manage expectations and eliminate volatility.

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