The kind of thing that strikes you as interesting if you are reading a new book about linguistics (pictured right) while keeping tabs on Wall Street's assessment of Amgen Inc.'s prospects going forward: what exactly does "close" mean?
They dutifully revised upward their projections for the fourth quarter--but Amgen still beat their consensus when it reported earnings of $4.29 per share for the full year. That is as close as you can get to the initial baseline forecast of $4.30, right?
That at least is how it looks to people who follow the company closely.
But not everyone sees it that way. At least one Wall Street observer--a reporter for CNBC--looked at Amgen's JP Morgan announcement and read it as if the guidance itself were still in force, and Amgen's prediction of coming close to the low end as a warning that it would be in the $4.31-$4.35 range. So $4.29 per share was a disappointment. (Check out this exchange between a CNBC reporter and Amgen.)
Guess you've got to pick your words carefully....