You write that companies will be entering their "quiet time." What exactly is "quiet time"? Is it required by law, and if so, for what purpose? (March 20, 2002)

  Quiet time is roughly two weeks before a company announces its earnings. During that period the company is not supposed to make any material statements regarding the coming earnings that are to be released. It is designed to help avoid undue volatility before the earnings announcement. That is why we see earnings warnings coming out right before the quiet period starts. If the company sees things are going to miss the mark, it may want to do some front end damage control.

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