What is Jekyll and Hyde?

Jekyll and Hyde is a term to describe volatile corporate earnings.

How Does Jekyll and Hyde Work?

Let's say Company XYZ reports a profit in the first quarter of 5 cents per share. In the second quarter, it reports a loss of 15 cents a share. In the third quarter, profits are back up big, at 20 cents per share. In the fourth quarter, however, losses are 10 cents a share. Company XYZ has Jekyll and Hyde financial statements.

Why Does Jekyll and Hyde Matter?

The term Jekyll and Hyde is from the famous Robert Louis Stevenson novel 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,' in which nice scientist Dr. Jekyll becomes evil Mr. Hyde.

In the finance world, Jekyll and Hyde behavior can also include companies whose financial statements seem strong but actually conceal significant weaknesses, companies whose stock prices are volatile for no apparent reason, or companies who have conflicting goals or activities.