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. Managing Wealth

    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. Personal Finance

    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. Markets

    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. Managing Wealth

    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. Insights

    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. Markets

    Big Banks In The Spotlight As New Earnings Season Begins

    The first-quarter earnings reporting season kicks off this week. Among the first companies to share their results will be the big U.S. banks. Wall Street analysts are looking for shrinking earnings ...
  7. Markets

    Earnings Reports: Why the Market Reacted to Q1 Disappointment (AAPL)

    Explore how positive and negative earnings reports affect stocks and the reasons for larger-than-average post-earnings losses in Q1 2016.
  8. Markets

    IBM Stock: An Earnings Case Study

    Learn the main drivers behind IBM's earnings model and why analysts predict a decline in 2016 followed by a strong recovery in 2017.
  9. Trading

    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.
  10. Investing

    Conference Calls: Press 1 For Investment Insight

    These calls can be an investor's most direct line to information about a company's operations.
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 ...
Hot Definitions
  1. GBP

    The abbreviation for the British pound sterling, the official currency of the United Kingdom, the British Overseas Territories ...
  2. Diversification

    A risk management technique that mixes a wide variety of investments within a portfolio. The rationale behind this technique ...
  3. European Union - EU

    A group of European countries that participates in the world economy as one economic unit and operates under one official ...
  4. Sell-Off

    The rapid selling of securities, such as stocks, bonds and commodities. The increase in supply leads to a decline in the ...
  5. Brazil, Russia, India And China - BRIC

    An acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. It has been speculated that by 2050 these four ...
  6. Brexit

    The Brexit, an abbreviation of "British exit" that mirrors the term Grexit, refers to the possibility of Britain's withdrawal ...
Trading Center