General instructions for providing comments in company specific forums

What should be written in company forums?

1) Comments on estimates

The most important thing in company forums is to provide arguments about your estimates. Your estimates are reliable only if you tell what they are based on - especially if you do not have a very long track record and thus people cannot see that your estimates have been very accurate in the past. With good estimate comments users cannot only see what facts support the current estimate but also the risks, possible range of outcomes etc.

Historical figures: comparability

Sometimes you have to describe also the past so that people could understand the estimates: Some companies have also had some restructuring or other major changes in the past meaning that past financial performance is not very good indication for future financial performance and these things should be described.


If you have adjusted the company figures somehow e.g. by transferring some capital gains or other non-recurring items from EBIT to Extra Ordinary Items, then this should of course be explained very clearly (with own company forum message which header could be like: "Adjustments made to 2004/Q3 income statement..."). You should not only tell clearly what you have done but also the arguments for doing it.

2) Market position, competitors, competitive advantages...

Besides estimate comments you can describe any other essential things within the valuation of your target company. Those things include e.g. competitors, market position of the company, competitive advantages, historical track record and credibility of current management etc.

3.) Something new like...

If you want to be pro then you can try to satisfy the needs of institutional investors and their fund managers. They always require analysts to "Tell me something new!". Fund managers and sell-side analysts typically know their domestic target companies rather well and they get masses of sell-side equity research from big companies. Therefore they have normally heard all the normal stuff. They call attention only to something that has not been told them already.

So what kind of things might interesting and worth mentioning in the forum:

1) Down-to-earth comments of the competitive edge of a complex and not-so-well-known product (like Basware) => why is it competitive, how close are the competitors, how big market will they have ahead?
2) Effects of new technology in certain industry (up to revenue and margin level) like VOIP, wlan or push-to-talk in operator business => will almost all voice get into data networks and when, what does it mean to operator revenues and margins?
3) What are the real consequences in sales and ebit levels of certain transactions like when Tietoenator gets lots of IT-outsourcing contracts => how profitable contracts are they in the long run, how much of them will we see in the future?
4.) What kind of growth opportunities certain companies will have in the foreign markets and why would their product offering be competitive there (like: Ponsse in Russia, Kesko in Baltics etc.)
5.) Company X will reveal such figures that have not been expected as current EPS consensus estimate for next year is and EPS has to be at least, because...
6.) Next year P/E would be lower than it has ever been, lower than any other company within the same industry and this company has always been valued higher than peer group, because...
7.) This reconstruction would mean that company EBIT will double, meaning that ROI would rise to around 30 % and as the P/BV is currently only little more than 1 => the company will double its share price if and when the P/BV will rise to the same level as all the other companies producing that kind return.

Like you and me, institutional investors also like concrete things: they are perhaps not excited about your story how some technology will change the world. But they would like to hear it if you can also tell how it changes the figures of a certain company, at what level the valuation figures (like P/E, EV/EBIT, P/BV) will be after these changes have happened, how and when this change will happen and what are the proofs of it. So if you can tell with solid and understandable arguments why the share price of a certain company will rise more than 30% then you will be heard.

Do not put news on the forum

The company forums are not a news channel. So do not copy-paste many company press releases on the forum (or even big clips from them). There are different organizations and companies inside the media sector that are much better in these operations - so leave it to them. Besides: if we all would put many press releases on the company forum, it would be 90% full of them and important things would not stand out. Of course you can and perhaps even sometimes should quote some important things from those press releases - at least if you also tell your own comments on them: how this is going to change the company figures or affect valuation/share price in the long-run.

Commenting company news or rumours

Of course you can inform investors about some major news in the forum, but only in those cases where you have something to comment on the news: if your company has made a major acquisition you can tell whether you see it affecting positively or negatively on the share price and especially why it does so and how big the effect would be (with quantitative comments). If the news do not affect share price, then why bother commenting them. Only in those cases where media tells some negative news about the company with big headlines and you think that those news do not affect the company´s financials, you  should comment on it on the forum. Thereby you have important message: "do not believe in the media, this event is not important for the share price" or "this persistent rumour is not likely to be true or happen".

To sum up: If there is news from the company, but you do not believe it is important or you have nothing to say about it, you would only echo the news from the media, then do not write anything. For company releases we have the the company website address on background page. Remember that investors follow media themselves, analysts should not try to repeat news but to point out and analyse the most important things - whether they have been in media or not.

Example of initial forum comment: see the demo analysis

How should the comments be formulated?

Try to be brief with your comments. Use headlines also inside forum messages to make the text more readable and to enable reader to choose/skip parts that are interesting/non-interesting for him/her at the moment. Also providing summaries at the top is a very good habit. To save your time and enhance the readability of the comment, it is highly recommended to use the template forum comments.

Remember that many investors browse ranking lists and multi-criteria rankings and as they find plenty of interesting companies they quickly browse their figures and comments on their figures. Thereby they are not very happy if the essential things like solid grounds for current year result or information from competition and competitive weeknesses and strengths are hard to find from the text. Already forum message headings should include the most essential things. Plenty of unrelevent forum messages hinder that the investor does not even find the right message.

Of course you can also write long comments and thoroughful information about some things. That kind of information is of course valuable in some cases and for some users, just ensure with the above means (headings, sub headings, summaries etc.) that you serve also busy investors.

To add images inside your forum-messages: Guide for using graphs and images in forum comments

To have ready-made formatting and graphs to your forum-messages:  Use the template forum comment.