Earnings

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DEFINITION of '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. Earnings typically refer to after-tax net income.Ultimately, a business's earnings are the main determinant of its share price, because earnings and the circumstances relating to them can indicate whether the business will be profitable and successful in the long run.

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BREAKING DOWN 'Earnings'

Earnings are perhaps the single most studied number in a company's financial statements because they show a company's profitability. A business's quarterly and annual earnings are typically compared to analyst estimates and guidance provided by the business itself. In most situations, when earnings do not meet either of those estimates, a business's stock price will tend to drop. On the other hand, when actual earnings beat estimates by a significant amount, the share price will likely surge.

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