Earnings Surprise

DEFINITION of 'Earnings Surprise'

Occurs when a company's reported quarterly or annual profits are above or below analysts' expectations. These analysts, who work for a variety of financial firms and reporting agencies, base their expectations on a variety of sources - previous quarterly or annual reports, current market conditions, as well as the company's own earnings' predictions or "guidance."

BREAKING DOWN 'Earnings Surprise'

Earnings surprises can have a huge impact on a company's stock price. Several studies suggest that positive earnings surprises not only lead to an immediate hike in a stock's price, but also to a gradual increase over time. Hence, it's not surprising that some companies are known for routinely beating earning projections. A negative earnings surprise will usually result in a decline in share price.

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