Basic Earnings Per Share

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DEFINITION of 'Basic Earnings Per Share'

A rough measurement of the amount of a company's profit that can be allocated to one share of its stock. Basic earnings per share (EPS) do not factor in the dilutive effects on convertible securities. Basic EPS is calculated as follows:

Basic EPS = (net income – preferred dividends) / weighted average number of common shares outstanding

If a company has a simple capital structure, meaning that it has not issued any potential dilutive securities, basic EPS can be a useful metric on its own.

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BREAKING DOWN 'Basic Earnings Per Share'

For companies that have a complex capital structure (that is, they have issued potential dilutive securities), diluted EPS is considered to be a more precise metric than basic EPS. Diluted EPS takes into account all of the outstanding dilutive securities that could potentially be exercised (such as stock options and convertible preferred stock) and shows how such an action would impact earnings per share. Companies with a complex capital structure must report both basic EPS and diluted EPS to provide a more accurate picture of their earnings per share; basic EPS will always be the higher of the two. If the company has a simple capital structure, it only needs to report basic EPS.

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