For the non-biz minded here's a quick primer: every publicly traded company has to file a report four times a year with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Over the last year or so, a lot of these reports have sucked--a technical term meaning they lost money, or saw their profits diminish dramatically. Washington Mutual, for example, reported a $1.87 billion loss in its most recent report after betting hard and losing big in the subprime mortgage market. After such losses are announced, the company's stock generally plummets, its shareholders freak out, employees wonder if accepting stock options rather than a more stable retirement plan was such a hot idea, and the handful of analysts who thought the whole operation was overrated anyway feel smug.
But it's not all doom and gloom for everyone. Things are all sunshine and roses in Issaquah. Today Costco reported a 32 percent jump in profit as people load up on bulk Bagel Bites and oranges preparing for the pending financial apocalypse. Net income went from $224 million during the same quarter last year to $295.1 million for the three month period ended May 11.