A number of corporate America’s most troubled companies will have the presidential election as cover when they report earnings this week.
Tuesday is, of course, Election Day, when voters will determine whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will become the next president. It is also a day that a couple of struggling publicly traded companies have chosen to announce their quarterly earnings. Other embattled brands are doing so the day after, when headlines will presumably be dominated just as much or even more by election results.
The timing creates the possibility that any news, good or (most likely, given these companies’ recent histories) bad, will fade from view as investors focus their attention on the bigger implications of the final election tallies.
The list of companies reporting Tuesday includes Valeant Pharmaceuticals
, and Endo International
, who will all be reporting before the market opens on Nov. 8. Mylan
will be reporting the day after, with the former reporting after market hours, and Viacom in pre-market.
So is the timing coincidental, or strategic? A review of past announcements suggests that two of the companies have broken with recent tradition in scheduling this quarter’s earnings releases. Valeant, the troubled Canadian drug company, which this week had a bit of good news, had reported its third-quarter earnings between Oct. 19-31 since 2013, and between Nov. 2-5 between 2009 to 2012.
Shares of Valeant have fallen 81% since the start of the year, as the company continues to weather controversy surrounding its drug price hikes and questionable accounting practices in relation to specialty pharmaceutical company Philidor.
Generic-drug company Mylan is also breaking a past pattern: Since 2009 Mylan has reported third quarter earnings between Oct. 25-31. The company was at the center of a firestorm earlier this year for hiking the price of its widely used allergic-reaction treatment, the EpiPen, to $608 for a package of two, an increase of about 500% over the past decade. As outrage grew, the company boosted the discounts patients can receive, but not before the stock hit record lows ahead of CEO Heather Bresch’s testimony before the House in September. Overall, shares of Mylan have fallen 39% year-to-date.
Other companies’ earnings timing hews more closely to past patterns. Endo Pharmaceuticals has reported earnings on Nov. 5 in the last four years. That date was a Saturday this year. Shares of Endo Pharmaceuticals have cratered some 75% year to date, in part due to drug pricing criticism. Notably, last week, news broke that an ongoing Justice Department investigation might soon result in antitrust charges against more than a dozen generic drug makers, including Mylan and Endo.
Beleaguered media conglomerate Viacom has reported its fourth-quarter earnings on the second Thursday of November each year since 2010. This year it has chosen a Wednesday. Shares of Viacom have fallen 11% year to date, as the company played out a gritty soap opera over who would control the company. In late October, Viacom announced the appointment of a new acting CEO, Robert Bakish, after his predecessor, Thomas Dooley, stepped down. Investors will be watching Viacom’s earnings announcement for signs that CBS and Viacom are exploring the possibility of a merger.
SeaWorld shares have fallen 28% since the start of the year. Over the last three years, it has usually reported between Nov. 5-13. The company has been bogged down by news that its parks mistreated orcas. In 2016, SeaWorld announced plans to stop using killer whales in shows—but the move didn’t fix the theme park’s still falling attendance figures.
Regarding the company’s earnings announcement, “the date is determined based on SEC filing deadlines, and our own internal process,” a SeaWorld representative told Fortune.
Whether these companies present good or bad news, the presidential elections will likely provide some cover. Fortune has also reached out to Valeant, Mylan, Viacom, and Endo, and will update this story if they respond.
Other potential companies with earnings announcements worth watching, even if it is election day, include Jazz Pharmaceuticals
(down 27% year to date) and CVS Health
(down 16% year to date).