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(Reuters) - For the fourth straight quarter, several of the biggest U.S. banks are reporting earnings on the same day, setting up a situation that overwhelms analysts covering the industry.
In a report on Friday, Barclays analyst Jason Goldberg noted that 10 of the 19 largest banks by market value are reporting results on just two days next month, on July 14 and 21st.
"Seems excessive," he wrote.
Big bank earnings days can be a hectic and frazzled experience for analysts, who must interpret thick documents packed with financial arcana, juggle multiple conference calls with management teams, investor relations departments and clients, and meet hard deadlines to distribute a final take on whether stocks remain a buy, hold or sell.
They arrive at work before 7 a.m. to prepare for the news and often stay late into the evening working on their reports and financial models.
On July 14, analysts expect to pore through more than 200 pages of press releases, slide decks and financial supplements released by JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), PNC Financial Services Group (PNC.N) and First Republic Bank (FRC.N) before the market opens.
JPMorgan is due to start a conference call with analysts at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT). That will be followed by PNC Financial Services Group's (PNC.N) call beginning at 9:30 a.m, Wells Fargo at 10 a.m. and Citigroup at 11:30 a.m. Each call typically lasts an hour or more.
"It can be maddening and frenetic, particularly when all these firms are reporting in the morning before the bell," said Tyler Ventura, a research analyst with investment management firm Diamond Hill. "We're going back and forth and saying, 'What did he say on this call versus that call?'"
Until recently, it was rare to see more than two of the six biggest lenders report results on the same day. According to a Reuters analysis, that only happened twice in the 22 quarters leading up to the middle of 2016.
It is not clear what changed.
Bank representatives said earnings are determined by a combination of meeting dates for boards of directors, holidays and travel schedules of CEOs, and that banks do not coordinate with each other on scheduling.
Some banks, including JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, recently began setting earnings dates years in advance, though most still schedule the event a few months ahead of time.
Marty Mosby, a former chief financial officer of First Horizon National Corp (FHN.N), said chief executives he worked for were eager to report results as early as possible, to appear financially strong, even if it meant competing for attention with other banks.
But Mosby, who is now a bank stock analyst at Vining Sparks, would advocate for reporting results later so that analysts and investors could give First Horizon their full attention, rather than having to make quick decisions to buy or sell based on the headline number alone.
"If you have five banks in a day you can't get all that done," said Mosby. "It's just impossible. Three is about the most that we can really handle."
Reporting by Olivia Oran and David Henry in New York; additional reporting by Dan Freed; editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Tom Brown