Missing Data For A Metric (NA, N/A, NM)

Sometimes a metric that has a number as its expected value is not available for a company. For example, while using the Finbox Data Explorer, you might have read a message like this under the performance summary section:

In some cases, you may find that the section is empty:

Likewise, while using the stock screener, you may obtain a result like this one:

In this article, we'll discuss the most common reasons why this occurs.

In this article

#1 Metric Not Applicable To Trading Item

One reason you may find an empty performance summary section or a "NA" result in the stock screener is that the subject metric does not apply to the selected trading item. Some examples below:

  • Revenue Forecast for ETFs: Metrics like forecasts do not apply to assets like ETFs, which represent a group of companies or assets held by the ETF.
  • Enterprise Value, EBITDA or EBIT for Banks: Metrics like Enterprise Value, EBITDA, and EBIT do not apply to banks (NYSE:BAC) or financial institutions (NYSE:APO) because their business models use debt as part of operating capital. Interest expense is a direct cost of doing business for banks & lender business models (vs. a capital structure decision), making EBITDA not meaningful. You may find Market Capitalization and Operating Income more meaningful in these cases.

#2 No Real Number Solution

It may be the case that even though the metric is applicable and all of the data required is available, there is no real number solution for the metric. For example, it is not possible to calculate the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) when one of the values is negative. The formula for calculating the CAGR is:

CAGR = (ending amount / beginning amount)^(1 / # of years) – 1

Since x^(1/n) is equal to n√x, the solution to CAGR is an imaginary number unless there happens to be an odd # of years in the formula. Therefore, when one of the values is negative, you'll see a result like this:

#3 Metric Has Not Yet Been Reported

Another reason why you may see an empty value is that the company has not reported the metric. The two most common reasons this occurs are as follows:

  • The company was not publicly traded and was not legally required to report financials publicly
  • The company has only issued a press release for the period and plans to publish the full financial statements at a later date. You can check the status of the reported financials for a period using the restatement type metric.
  • A metric component is not available or meaningful. For example, it may not be possible to calculate return on equity (ROE) for a period during which the company doesn't provide a balance sheet (ROE = Net Income / Common Equity).
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