GMI Ratings has compiled a  second “Black Swan Risk List” identifying 40 North American companies with the highest risk of major drops in share prices within the next six months.

The list is included in a new report, Behind the Masks of Accounting Fraud, posted Monday on the GMI Ratings site, names companies that GMI considers to have the most aggressive accounting practices.

“We released our first Black Swan Risk List last week, a day before one of the companies on the list (Hewlett-Packard) announced an $8.8 billion write-down that reflected material misrepresentations and disclosure failures,” said GMI Ratings chief executive James A. Kaplan in a statement. “Beyond validating the inclusion of HP on our risk list, the announcement provided the latest illustration of the importance of forensic accounting in the analysis of issuer risk. Our new Black Swan Risk List identifies 40 high-risk North American companies with market caps between $5 billion and $100 billion. Just as last week’s list, the new list identifies issuers with the most aggressive accounting practices based on our AGR model. Inclusion in this list signifies an elevated risk of adverse events that can materially affect share prices.”

In the near future, GMI Ratings plans to add a Black Swan Risk List feature to its Web-based research service, GMI Analyst, to allow subscribers to identify high-risk companies based on a variety of geographic, industry-related and other descriptive search criteria.

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