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A crush of online retail orders between U.S. Thanksgiving and Christmas forced UPS to hire 30,000 more temps than it had accounted for in its budgeting, boosting expenses and reducing margins.
A crush of online retail orders between U.S. Thanksgiving and Christmas forced UPS to hire 30,000 more temps than it had accounted for in its budgeting, boosting expenses and reducing margins.
(JOHN SOMMERS II/REUTERS)

When business is just too good to make your profit target

Every three months, the markets are gripped by a kind of madness, otherwise known as quarterly earnings season. It lasts about 10 days or so, but the impact can unravel investment strategies and alter lives.

Most eyes focus on a single number – earnings per share. Everything from the careers of executives to the fortunes of big fund managers and the hopes of small investors ride on whether companies make, exceed or fail to reach analysts’ estimates. Which may explain why this has also become prime alibi season, when the misses prompt some remarkable responses.