Good morning. It was an interesting day yesterday, dominated by Sweett (LON:CSG). I think the lesson learned there, is that companies need to be very careful to ensure that the headline figures demonstrate the underlying performance of the company accurately & in an unambiguous way. In the case of Sweett Group, many investors (including myself) looked at the headline numbers, and thought to themselves, hang on the growth they are trumpeting has all come from this one-off gain on a derivative. That is what led to the sell-off in the shares yesterday - and incidentally this was NOT triggered by my report, because I always glance at the share price when I publish comments on companies, and in that case the share price was already down 7p when I published my first comments on them here. So clearly many investors had drawn the same initial conclusion as me, indeed that was also clear from comments on bulletin boards and Twitter.

The morning process is two-staged. Investors have to speed-read announcements between 7-8 am, and then make an instant decision by 8 am whether to buy/hold or sell. If you have multiple positions in your portfolio, or are reporting on many companies, as I do, then there simply isn't time to wade through the detail, and make adjustments to the figures. So it's vital that the headline figures and comments are presented clearly, without any ambiguity, and presenting the true underlying trading performance of the business. I think Sweett slipped up there, by not putting in adjusted profit/earnings figures with the one-off gains/costs stripped out. That's what investors are most interested in. Even the table that purported to do that, later on in the announcement, was wrong - because it stripped out one-offs from last year, but left them in this year! All in all a bit of a muddle.

The second stage of the morning process is to then plough through all the detail of the results, and discuss them with other people. In that process I certainly revised my opinion on Sweett from negative to neutral/mildly positive, hence the updated article here.

Anyway, my (admittedly rather over the top, sorry about that) comments here led to one of the company's advisers getting in contact, and we had a useful and amicable conversation to discuss the figures. I was then happy to publish…

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