Results season roller coaster off and running Usually only the bikinis, not the company accounts, look good in summer. Hang Lung Properties began the results season yesterday by reporting a near 70 per cent drop in full-year profit. And on Monday, HSBC could announce a paper accounting loss, or the same magnitude of profit decline as Hang Lung for the first half. The blue-chip companies are just two examples of what to expect in the next eight weeks when most companies will be taking off their shirts to show investors how they have fared with the global credit crunch. Last month, we counted 57 companies that issued a profit warning, almost double the number in July last year. The sharp increase reflects how robust the first half was in 2008 when most commodity prices were at a record high, which explains why some oil, metal and transport companies look fairly ugly now. But most of these ills have been forgiven in a strong stock market, where investors are looking for positive news to jump on. Talking of which, we counted nine companies that issued positive alerts - profits up by 50 per cent - last month, compared to three in July 2008. Other signs worth noting include Li Ka-shing's group of companies, which have moved up their reporting schedule to the second week, seven days earlier than normal. The improved reporting speed will give directors a release from the blackout period, so expect some surprises. By contrast, the other Li family, David Li Kwok-po, whose Bank of East Asia usually reports before HSBC, has picked a date near the end of the month to release results this year. No reason has been given, although the hit many local banks have taken over the Lehman Brothers' minibond settlement could have something to do with it. The oil price rebound, that usually hurts airlines' profitability, could actually end up helping the bottom line of Cathay Pacific Airways this time round, thanks to a large write back to its oil hedging contracts signed last year. Less lucky is substantial Cathay shareholder, Citic Pacific, which could have written back much of the losses it suffered on the surging Australian dollar contracts had those contracts not been sold to parent Citic Group in Beijing. Timing is everything in business. One company that knows this is conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, which is why we can expect a timely piece of restructuring of its telecommunications portfolio, thanks to improving investment sentiment. Likewise, look for more updates of state-owned firms such as PetroChina and Aluminum Corp of China and their treasure hunts for natural resources. Mainland property counter China Overseas Land and Investment and internet play Tencent Holdings have been leading the market rally in the past four months. Now, it's time for laggards HSBC and China Mobile to catch up. Don't be surprised to see them back in the HK$100 club soon. Moguls keep things light Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson are not known as media darlings for nothing. More often than not, they give investors a good chuckle with their business perspectives. Yesterday both casino moguls held conference calls with investors who were anxious to learn more about the plans of Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands to spin off their Macau operations with initial public offerings in Hong Kong. The two men were coy about speaking before their listing applications, but they still made some interesting comments. One investor who acknowledged that she risked incurring Mr Adelson's wrath, asked the Las Vegas Sands chairman how he managed to improve the company's operating margin while all revenue components were down. Mr Adelson replied: 'By cooking the books! Just kidding, just kidding.' Another investor asked Mr Adelson (above) if there was a timetable for solving the company's liquidity problems 'before the Venetian Macau covenant puts a noose around your neck' and 'what's the earliest you can do something in Hong Kong?' But Mr Adelson would not be drawn. 'What do you mean do something in Hong Kong? You mean go to have dinner there? We have great Chinese restaurants in Macau.' In contrast, Mr Wynn was more serious with his answers, but he could not resist having a dig at his rivals. 'I know you're all on the call,' he said. 'Hello, Sheldon, hello, Jim [MGM chief executive Jim Murren]. How are you all? I hope you're having a nice summer.'