What is a forward-looking statement?
Every analyst conference I have ever listened too has included a disclaimer about forward-looking statements. Basically, management can make two-kinds of statements: forward-looking and historical. When a quarter's results are reported these are historical statements. They are believed to be correct, though they could still be mistaken. In particular, numbers for income, earnings, etc. have been through an accounting process (though not necessarily an audit).
Forward-looking statements are managements guesses about anything that could happen in the future. Guidance is a good example: of course they cannot know exactly how much there income is going to be for the present or future quarters until the quarter is over and all the records have squared away. Guidance can be way off when management is overly enthusiastic or some event occurs that means better or worse sales or expenses than expected.
The disclaimer about forward-looking statements is mainly to avoid lawsuits. Since they have said (in legalese) "look, these are just our guesses or opinions," then shareholders cannot hold them to those guesses.
Full forward-looking disclaimers are contained in SEC filings; the ones given before analyst conferences are abbreviated.
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