1. ## I'm confused

I'm a little confused about the following sentence.

Current liabilities exceeded current assets at January 31, 2009, by \$6.4
billion, a decrease of \$4.0 billion from January 31, 2008, largely due to a
reduction in commercial paper outstanding at January 31, 2009.

Does that mean current liabilities decreased by \$4.0 billion from January 31, 2008

or

the difference between current liabilities and current assets decreased by \$4.0 billion to \$6.4 billion

or is it just a bad sentence that could be interpreted in both ways?

2. ## Re: I'm confused

Originally Posted by kendara
I'm a little confused about the following sentence.

Current liabilities exceeded current assets at January 31, 2009, by \$6.4
billion, a decrease of \$4.0 billion from January 31, 2008, largely due to a
reduction in commercial paper outstanding at January 31, 2009.

Does that mean current liabilities decreased by \$4.0 billion from January 31, 2008

or

the difference between current liabilities and current assets decreased by \$4.0 billion to \$6.4 billion

or is it just a bad sentence that could be interpreted in both ways?

This means that as at January 31 2008 liabilities were exceeding the current assets by \$10.4 billion.
As at January 31 2009 liabilities are exceeding the current assets by \$6.4 billion.
This gives you a decrease in debt (in liabilities) of \$4.0 billion since the previous year (since Jan 31 2008).

Both underlined seem to be correct. 1st sentence tells you more about the decrease in liabilities, 2nd sentence tells gives you more info (is more focused) on the decrease between the current assets and liabilities.
You can interpret this in many ways. It all depends which information is more important for the business. Decrease in liabilities or the gap between assets and liabilities.

I hope this helps. Please note, I am not an english theacher.

3. ## Re: I'm confused

Hi !

If I understand this correctly. I would say that "the difference between current liabilities and current assets decreased by \$4.0 billion to \$6.4 billion" is correct.

4. ## Re: I'm confused

I managed to find the acutual financial data.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. - Walmart Second Quarter Earnings Exceed Consensus Estimates

Based on that, the second sentence

"the difference between current liabilities and current assets decreased by \$4.0 billion to \$6.4 billion"

seems to be correct (not the first one).

Thank you very much.

5. ## Re: I'm confused

Originally Posted by kendara
I managed to find the acutual financial data.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. - Walmart Second Quarter Earnings Exceed Consensus Estimates

Based on that, the second sentence

"the difference between current liabilities and current assets decreased by \$4.0 billion to \$6.4 billion"

seems to be correct (not the first one).

Thank you very much.
No,this indicates a net decrease in current liabilities by \$4 billions as on 31st Jan’09 (as on both the dates current liability was more than current assents)as explained below.
As on 31st January’08: current labializes – current assets = X (Say)
As on 31st january’09: current liabilities – current assets = \$6 = X-\$4(less/decrease)
So X = \$10 billion which means there is a net decrease in current liabilities by \$4 billions and this is a good sign

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