A:

Earnings season is the period of time during which a large number of publicly traded companies release their quarterly earning reports. In general, each earnings season begins one or two weeks after the last month of each quarter (December, March, June and September). In other words, look for the majority of public companies to release their earnings in early to mid January, April, July and October. It is important to note that not all companies report during earnings season because the exact date of an earnings release depends on when the given company's quarter ends. As such, it is not uncommon to find companies reporting earnings between earnings seasons.

The unofficial kickoff to earnings season is the release of earnings by Alcoa (NYSE: AA), which is a major aluminum producer and Dow Jones Industrial Average component, as it is one of the first major companies to release earnings after the end of each quarter. It also coincides with an increasing number of earnings reports being released. There is no official end to the earnings season, but it is considered to be over when most major companies have released their quarterly earnings reports, which generally occurs about six weeks after the start of the season.

For example, for the fourth quarter, you will often see an increasing number of earnings reports released in the second week of January (Alcoa typically releases at the start of the second week). About six weeks later, or near the end of February, the number of earnings reports starts to decrease to pre-earnings season levels. There is also very little time between each earnings season. For example, the earnings season for the first quarter begins in early April, which is a little over a month after the end of the fourth quarter season.

This is a very active time in the market as participants (analysts, traders and investors) review the earnings reports, which may affect their positions on or in a company. You can often see a lot of movement in the shares of companies releasing reports as the market reacts to the new data. It is not unheard of to see shares jump 20% or more or to see them fall by this same amount. It is also a highly active time for the financial news media, such as CNBC and The Wall Street Journal. There is extensive media coverage of the major earnings releases from a general recap of the earnings to reporting on whether the companies missed, met or beat analyst expectations.

For more, see Earnings: Quality Means Everything.

RELATED FAQS
  1. How can I access a company's earnings report?

    Find out how to access the quarterly and annual earnings reports for publicly traded companies, and even how to listen in ... Read Answer >>
  2. How does seasonality affect the financial services sector?

    Take a look at some of the ways that seasonal trend analysis can be applied to various financial services providers and the ... Read Answer >>
  3. Is the banking sector subject to any seasonal trends?

    Explore the unexpected seasonal trends that can be discerned regarding the banking industry and the financial services sector ... Read Answer >>
  4. If I have a number of stock shares and that company reports earnings of X amount ...

    Simply? Yes and no.Part of the answer to your question is "no" because when a company reports $X of earnings per share in ... Read Answer >>
  5. What seasonal trends exist in the metals and mining sector?

    Discover the seasonal tendencies that affect the metals and mining sector, especially gold prices as represented in both ... Read Answer >>
  6. What is earnings management?

    Before diving into what earnings management is, it is important to have a solid understanding of what we mean when we refer ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    How to Use Earnings Season to Make Better Decisions

    Earnings season reflects the state of the stock market, but also demonstrates how the overall economy is performing.
  2. Insurance

    Everything Investors Need To Know About Earnings

    We go over the concepts behind the excitement over the most important figure in the stock market.
  3. Economics

    What are Earnings?

    The amount of profit that a company produces during a specific period, which is usually defined as a quarter (three calendar months) or a year.
  4. Investing Basics

    How to Think About Seasonality Trends

    Investors benefit when company research incorporates seasonality trends that predict relative strength and weakness throughout the calendar year.
  5. Fundamental Analysis

    Is It Time To End Quarterly Earnings Reporting?

    The chorus for removing the quarterly earnings requirement for companies is growing louder. We examine the pros and cons of the issue.
  6. Trading Strategies

    Consider The Season On Trading Day

    Calendar and clock bias, better known as seasonality, is a frequently misunderstood concept that exerts a huge influence on the ticker tape.
  7. Fundamental Analysis

    Conference Calls: Press 1 For Investment Insight

    These calls can be an investor's most direct line to information about a company's operations.
  8. Investing Basics

    The Flow Of Company Information

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

    Strategies For Quarterly Earnings Season

    Breeze through consensus estimates like the biggest Wall Street forecasters.
  10. Economics

    Earnings Forecasts: A Primer

    Learn how this key metric is calculated and how it is used to judge market performance.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Earnings Season

    The months of the year in which a majority of quarterly corporate ...
  2. Quarterly Earnings Report

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

    The amount of money a company has earned during a given period, ...
  4. Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

    A three-month period on a financial calendar that acts as a basis ...
  5. Earnings Announcement

    An official public statement of a company's profitability for ...
  6. Seasoned Issue

    An issue of additional securities from an established company ...

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Return On Invested Capital - ROIC

    A calculation used to assess a company's efficiency at allocating the capital under its control to profitable investments. ...
  2. Law Of Demand

    A microeconomic law that states that, all other factors being equal, as the price of a good or service increases, consumer ...
  3. Cost Of Debt

    The effective rate that a company pays on its current debt. This can be measured in either before- or after-tax returns; ...
  4. Yield Curve

    A line that plots the interest rates, at a set point in time, of bonds having equal credit quality, but differing maturity ...
  5. Stop-Limit Order

    An order placed with a broker that combines the features of stop order with those of a limit order. A stop-limit order will ...
  6. Keynesian Economics

    An economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output and inflation. Keynesian economics was developed ...
Trading Center