Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4'

A three-month period on a financial calendar that acts as a basis for the reporting of earnings and the paying of dividends. A quarter refers to one-fourth of a year and is typically expressed as "Q." The four quarters that make up the year are: January, February and March (Q1); April, May and June (Q2); July, August and September (Q3); and October, November and December (Q4). A quarter is often shown with its relevant year, as in Q1 2012 or Q1/12, which represents the first quarter of the year 2012.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4'

All public companies in the United States must file quarterly reports (known as 10-Qs) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Each 10-Q contains the public company's unaudited financial statements and company operations information for the previous three months (quarter). 10-Qs are required for the first three quarters of the year. Each publicly traded company must also file an annual report, known as a 10-K, which includes all of the quarters.

Companies, investors and analysts use data from different quarters to make comparisons and evaluate trends. For instance, a retailer may compare this year's Q2 sales over last year's Q2 sales, or an analyst may evaluate a firm's earnings by reviewing data from the same quarter over several years.

VIDEO

RELATED TERMS
  1. Quarter Over Quarter - Q/Q

    A measure of an investment or company's growth from one quarter ...
  2. Dividend

    1. A distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, decided ...
  3. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles ...

    The common set of accounting principles, standards and procedures ...
  4. Public Company

    A company that has issued securities through an initial public ...
  5. Quartile

    A statistical term describing a division of observations into ...
  6. Quarter To Date - QTD

    A time interval that captures all relevant company activity that ...
Related Articles
  1. Markets

    Consumer Spending As A Market Indicator

    What people buy and where they shop can provide valuable information about the economy.
  2. Economics

    Earnings Forecasts: A Primer

    Learn how this key metric is calculated and how it is used to judge market performance.
  3. Investing

    Strategies For Quarterly Earnings Season

    Breeze through consensus estimates like the biggest Wall Street forecasters.
  4. Markets

    Surprising Earnings Results

    Consensus estimates can send stocks spiraling - but are they representing reality?
  5. Investing

    When is earnings season?

    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 ...
  6. Investing

    Do I receive the posted dividend yield every quarter?

    First things first: a company with common stock that pays a dividend will typically distribute the dividend every quarter. However, the amount the company quotes is normally an annual figure. ...
  7. Charts & Patterns

    Analyzing Chart Patterns

    Learn how to evaluate a stock with a few easy-to-identify patterns.
  8. Fundamental Analysis

    How do I use the PEG (price to earnings growth) ratio to determine whether a stock is overvalued?

    Using the PEG, or price/earnings to growth, ratio provides a better picture of a stock's valuation versus simply relying on the P/E ratio.
  9. Taxes

    What is the best method of calculating depreciation for tax reporting purposes?

    Learn the best method for calculating depreciation for tax reporting purposes according to generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP.
  10. Fundamental Analysis

    Are accounts receivable used when calculating a company's debt collateral?

    Learn how accounts receivables are recorded as assets on a balance sheet; they are used when calculating a company's total debt collateral.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Multiplier Effect

    The expansion of a country's money supply that results from banks being able to lend. The size of the multiplier effect depends ...
  2. Command Economy

    A system where the government, rather than the free market, determines what goods should be produced, how much should be ...
  3. Prospectus

    A formal legal document, which is required by and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that provides details ...
  4. Treasury Bond - T-Bond

    A marketable, fixed-interest U.S. government debt security with a maturity of more than 10 years. Treasury bonds make interest ...
  5. Weight Of Ice, Snow Or Sleet Insurance

    Financial protection against damage caused to property by winter weather specifically, damage caused if a roof caves in because ...
  6. Weather Insurance

    A type of protection against a financial loss that may be incurred because of rain, snow, storms, wind, fog, undesirable ...
Trading Center