Friday, September 19, 2008

Fedex – Proxy for Economy?

Fedex (FDX) announced results and let the world know they did slightly better than expectations. The cost of fuel moderated somewhat and therefore profitability was just that much better. In reading the earnings release which is a painfully abbreviated document and then reading the earnings call transcript I am beginning to get the sense that the executives are attempting to seduce the investing public into thinking that they are an economic proxy.

By this I mean they point to fuel costs, weather conditions and underlying economic conditions to explain results. There is almost no discussion of competition or the relative merits of offerings. The question becomes well what is management doing? If this is a proxy for the economy with a built in execution risk why not just buy an ETF or index and factor out company specific risk. Management needs to continue building the case for continued investor involvement.