Cash Flow Per Share

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DEFINITION of 'Cash Flow Per Share'

A measure of a firm's financial strength, calculated as:

Cash Flow Per Share = (Operating Cash Flow – Preferred Dividends) / Common Shares Outstanding.

Cash flow per share shows the after-tax earnings plus depreciation, on a per share basis. Many financial analysts place more emphasis on the cash flow per share value than on earnings per share values. While an earnings per share value can be easily manipulated to appear more positive than it really is, therefore putting its reliability in question, cash is more difficult to alter, resulting in what some analysts believe is a more accurate value of the strength and sustainability of a particular business model.

BREAKING DOWN 'Cash Flow Per Share'

A company's earnings per share is the portion of a company's profit that is allocated to each outstanding share of common stock, and, like cash flow per share, serves as an indicator of a company's profitability. Because the cash flow per share takes into consideration a company's ability to generate cash, it is regarded by some analysts as a more accurate measure of a company's financial situation than the earnings per share metric. Cash flow per share represents the net cash a firm produces, on a per share basis.

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