A:

During the course of a fiscal year, a company will report earnings on a total of four separate occasions: three quarterly statements filed as 10-Qs, and one annual report with Quarter 4 data within, filed as a 10-K. The SEC requires companies to file 10-Qs no later than 45 days after the end of a quarter, and 10-Ks must be being submitted no later than 90 days following a company's fiscal year-end. Occasionally, companies will postpone an earnings release for some unforeseen reason. However, most often, the delay will be a result of the company not completing the report on time due to audits taking longer than expected, inexperienced officers completing their first report and the firm losing some or all of its financial data due to a technical error, fire or theft. Although a company may file a report later than expected, this will sometimes have an impact on its stock price.

If a company announces that it is filing later than expected, investors may take this as a sign of a negative earnings surprise, and a sell-off may follow. Price reductions can be further enhanced by noise traders and technical analysts who may follow those who are selling their stock. The smart investor should keep in mind that the best thing for them to do during a time like this is to consider why the company is delaying its release, and/or wait for information to be released concerning whether management's reasons are valid, and see how the new data corresponds to the original investment thesis.

One possible winner in this scenario is the contrarian investor because the contrarian may pick up the now relatively cheaper stock, which will enhance any gains going forward.

To learn more about earnings, read Earnings: Quality Means Everything, or Everything You Need To Know About Earnings.

RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the first day of the first quarter?

    The first day of companies' fiscal years varies based on industry cycles. The timing is especially important because annual ... Read Answer >>
  2. Why do companies report earnings at different times?

    This is a question that puzzles many people because, unlike individuals, who must file their taxes to the IRS every year ... Read Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between a quarter and a year in finance?

    Examine the difference between a fiscal quarter and a fiscal year. Learn why investors examine both quarterly and annual ... Read Answer >>
  4. What are the differences between a 10-K report and a firm's own annual report?

    Understand the key differences between a corporation's own annual report and its 10-K report filed with the SEC and how investors ... Read Answer >>
  5. Can I file single if I am legally married but have not lived with spouse for two ...

  6. When does Q2 start for most companies?

    Learn about the fiscal year of different companies and when the second quarter begins. Explore why analysts often prefer ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    Explaining the 10-K

    A 10-K is an annual comprehensive report that thoroughly recaps a company’s performance.
  2. Markets

    SEC Filings: Forms You Need To Know

    The forms companies are required to file provide a clear view of their histories and progress.
  3. Investing

    Popular Resources for Equity Research and Analysis: Chapter 2: The SEC Website

    Second to the company investor relations sites is the direct SEC website at www.sec.gov. Investors can learn quite a bit about the securities industry from the SEC. The forms page, which details ...
  4. Investing

    How To Efficiently Read An Annual Report

    Learn how to read between the lines and decipher the actual condition of a company.
  5. Investing

    How To Decode A Company’s Earnings Reports

    Earnings reports tell investors how a publicly-traded company is performing, but aren’t always easy to decipher.
  6. Markets

    The Flow Of Company Information

    Learn how to gather all the pieces before you start to put together your puzzle.
  7. Investing

    6 Things To Look For In Earnings Reports

    Learn how to consider all the known variables when assessing a company's health.
  8. Investing

    How A Company Files With The SEC

    Filing with the SEC is not as complicated as you might thing -- just be meticulous about following the steps.
  9. Markets

    Speed Read SEC Filings For Hot Stock Picks

    SEC forms can be a real headache. Find out how to make your research more efficient - and more effective.
  10. Investing

    How To Efficiently Read An Annual Report

    Annual reports are clearly prepared without any intent to deceive or mislead investors. Still, investors should read them with a dose of skepticism.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

    A three-month period on a financial calendar that acts as a basis ...
  2. Quarterly Earnings Report

    A quarterly filing made by public companies to report their performance. ...
  3. MJSD

    An acronym that represents the months March, June, September ...
  4. SEC Form NT 10-K

    A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that ...
  5. 500 Investor Rule

    A SEC stipulation requiring a company that exceeds 500 individual ...
  6. SEC Form NSAR-BT

    An annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Glass-Steagall Act

    An act the U.S. Congress passed in 1933 as the Banking Act, which prohibited commercial banks from participating in the investment ...
  2. Quantitative Trading

    Trading strategies based on quantitative analysis which rely on mathematical computations and number crunching to identify ...
  3. Bond Ladder

    A portfolio of fixed-income securities in which each security has a significantly different maturity date. The purpose of ...
  4. Duration

    A measure of the sensitivity of the price (the value of principal) of a fixed-income investment to a change in interest rates. ...
  5. Dove

    An economic policy advisor who promotes monetary policies that involve the maintenance of low interest rates, believing that ...
  6. Cyclical Stock

    An equity security whose price is affected by ups and downs in the overall economy. Cyclical stocks typically relate to companies ...
Trading Center