Trailing

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DEFINITION of 'Trailing'

The most recent time period, often used to describe the time that a particular set of data is referring to. Trailing is used to describe a past statistic, such as same-store sales, but can also be used to describe a technique, such as a trailing stop order. Most often you will hear the term "trailing 12 months," "trailing three months" or "trailing six months."

BREAKING DOWN 'Trailing'

The term may also modify a reported metric. For example, the earnings in a trailing price-to-earnings ratio refers to the past earnings per share over a certain period - usually 12 months. Trailing 12 months is denoted by the acronym "TTM."

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