By Nicholas Varchaver, assistant managing editor
FORTUNE -- It's earnings season again, which brings with it the regular wave of news articles about a company's latest results. But in this age of Twitter-sized attention spans and ever-more-compressed reading time, an old phenomenon brings increased peril: headline roulette. Particularly when companies' results are mixed, news outlets tend to spotlight different elements, creating headlines that leave wildly contrasting impressions. If you actually go to the trouble of reading the articles closely, they generally agree on the facts. But who has time to read full articles any more?
Consider these headlines from today about General Electric's results:
GE Profits Top Estimates (Bloomberg)
GE Posts Decline in Profits, Revenues (Wall Street Journal)
GE Industrial Profits Rise 12%, Shares Up (Reuters)
There's a similar effect for Goldman Sachs:
Profit and Revenue Drop at Goldman Sachs (New York Times)
Goldman Earnings Beat Estimates (Wall Street Journal)
Goldman Beats Estimates on Jump in Investment Banking (Bloomberg)
Goldman Sachs Profit Falls 11% But Beats Estimates (Reuters)
And these headlines about Philip Morris International could prompt a confused cough or two:
Philip Morris 1Q Profit Falls (Washington Post)
Philip Morris Tops Estimate on Higher Prices (Bloomberg)
Philip Morris Earnings Drop 12%, as Sales Volume Continues Decline (Wall Street Journal)
So which are right? It's hard to tell without -- gasp -- reading the actual articles, but the market has its own opinion: A few hours after the headlines, GE (GE) shares were up 2%, Goldman's (GS) had risen 1%, and Philip Morris's (PM) stock had fallen 3%.
CEO James Gorman proves that there are, in fact, second acts on Wall Street.
FORTUNE -- James Gorman appears to have found Wall Street's secret sauce.
In a quarter when nearly all of its rivals struggled, Morgan Stanley (MS) reported better-than-expected earnings for the first three months of the year. Profits from continuing operations rose to $1.39 billion, up from $1.18 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected the company to earn MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Apr 17, 2014 11:04 AM ET
Occupy Wall Street rejoice: As more people land jobs, bank earnings are looking down.
FORTUNE -- Here's a switch: The bankers are all of a sudden doing worse than the butchers, the bakers, and the candlestick makers.
On Wednesday, Bank of America (BAC) announced that it had lost nearly $300 million in the first quarter. Analysts were expecting the bank to turn a profit. A year ago, it earned $1.5 billion. Meanwhile, MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Apr 17, 2014 5:00 AM ET
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon got either a 74% raise or a 37% pay cut, depending on the source. In fact, neither stat correctly reports his 2013 take-home pay.
By Paul Hodgson
FORTUNE -- In January, news stories claimed that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon got a 74% pay increase in 2013. But in April, now that the proxy is out, his pay is reported as declining by 37%.
One thing is certain, it MOREApr 16, 2014 1:14 PM ET
Goldman Sachs to acquire stake in maker of big data management and compliance software.
FORTUNE -- Goldman Sachs (GS) has agreed to acquire a minority equity stake in AvePoint, a New Jersey-based provider of big data management, governance and compliance software for social collaboration platforms like Microsoft Sharepoint. We have not yet learned any financial terms of the deal, which was first disclosed in a Federal Trade Commission document.
Current AvePoint shareholders include private equity firm Summit MOREDan Primack - Apr 10, 2014 2:35 PM ET
Lloyd Blankfein, still the highest paid Wall Street CEO, got $23 million for 2013, while other employees at Goldman took a pay cut.
FORTUNE -- Last year was a pretty good one for Goldman Sachs. But it was a very good year for the bank's CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.
According to a financial filing that came out on Friday, Goldman (GS) paid Blankfein $23 million for his work in 2013. That was up MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Apr 4, 2014 1:24 PM ET
Results of the Fed's stress tests may signal it's time for bank investors to look out below.
FORTUNE -- The Federal Reserve's annual stress tests turned out to be more unpredictable, and less favorable for the banks, than predicted. That's good. Economic downturns are unpredictable, so the test should be too. Not that bank investors liked it. Even the shares of banks that passed the Fed's tests dropped on Thursday.
That's a MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Mar 27, 2014 9:48 AM ET
The Fed approves the capital plans of 25 others. Goldman and Bank of America were forced to resubmit.
FORTUNE -- The Federal Reserve approved the capital plans of 25 of the nation's 30 largest banks on Wednesday as part of the final leg of its annual required stress tests.
Citigroup was the most notable bank among those that had their capital plans rejected. The Fed said it was troubled by Citi's inability to MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Mar 26, 2014 4:00 PM ET
Big IPO-like spikes, clients being favored over others, and the potential for unfair Wall Street profits. This certainly sounds like another manipulated market.
FORTUNE -- Wall Street may have a new debt problem.
Late last week, Goldman Sachs (GS) disclosed that regulators are probing how it allocates and trades bonds. Citigroup (C) is reportedly in regulators' crosshairs as well, along with the rest of Wall Street. At issue is how banks decide MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Mar 6, 2014 5:00 AM ET
Moelis may be a champion for the boutique bank, but when it comes to his IPO, he's seeking guidance from the big guys.
By Lauren Silva Laughlin
FORTUNE -- Potential clients of Ken Moelis's eponymous investment bank needn't look any further than the cover of the prospectus for the firm's initial public offering to see the limits of independent advisory firms. Moelis has chosen two very familiar -- and large -- MOREMar 4, 2014 5:24 PM ET
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