Whisper Number


DEFINITION of 'Whisper Number'

1. Traditionally, the unofficial and unpublished earnings per share (EPS) forecasts that circulate among professionals on Wall Street. In this context, whisper numbers were generally reserved for the favored (wealthy) clients of a brokerage.

2. A company's forecasted future earnings or revenues according to the collective expectations of individual investors. In this sense, a whisper number would be compiled by a website polling its visitors. Individuals come up with a whisper number using their own analyses of company financials, market trends, gut feel, etc.

BREAKING DOWN 'Whisper Number'

Whisper numbers are especially useful when they differ from the consensus forecast. They can be used as a tool to help spot (or avoid) an earnings surprise (or disappointment). Of course, this is only relevant if they are more accurate than the consensus estimate, and this depends on the sources used to calculate them.

Increased regulatory scrutiny on the brokerage industry made it much more difficult (if not impossible) to get a whisper number in the traditional sense. For example, regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley provided for stricter rules in how companies disclose financial data. Employees, financial professionals and brokerages face significant penalties if they provide insider earnings data to a select group of people. While it's impossible to know the extent to which whisper numbers still circulate among the wealthy, it's highly unlikely that a small investor could access this data. For these reasons, the newer definition (expectations of individuals) is of more relevance to regular individual investors.

  1. Earnings Per Share - EPS

    The portion of a company's profit allocated to each outstanding ...
  2. Street Expectation

    The average estimate of a public company’s quarterly earnings ...
  3. First Call

    A company that gathers research notes and earnings estimates ...
  4. Insider Information

    A non-public fact regarding the plans or condition of a publicly ...
  5. Sarbanes-Oxley Act Of 2002 - SOX

    An act passed by U.S. Congress in 2002 to protect investors from ...
  6. Whisper Stock

    Shares in a company that is rumored to be the target of a takeover ...
Related Articles
  1. Fundamental Analysis

    Can Good News Be A Signal To Sell?

    Sometimes positive announcements can mean bad news for a stock. Find out why.
  2. Markets

    The Impact Of Sell-Side Research

    Sell-side analysts are not stock buyers or sellers - rather, they provide unbiased guidance to traders.
  3. Economics

    Earnings Guidance: Can It Accurately Predict The Future?

    Explore the controversies surrounding companies commenting on their forward-looking expectations.
  4. Markets

    Whisper Numbers: Should You Listen?

    These unofficial forecasts hold the potential for insider insight - and investment risk.
  5. Forex Education

    How To Trade Forex On News Releases

    When economic data comes out, it can have a marked impact on the currency market. Find out how to profit.
  6. Options & Futures

    Can Insiders Help You Make Better Trades?

    Find out why the trading activity of owners and executives can be a valuable trade-confirmation tool.
  7. Investing Basics

    What are the fiduciary responsibilities of board members?

    Find out what fiduciary duties a board of directors owes to the company and its shareholders, including the duties of care, good faith and loyalty.
  8. Investing News

    What Affirmative Action Means for Businesses

    A look at what Affirmative Action means for your business.
  9. Investing

    Protect Your Creations--Register Your Trademark

    Federally registering your brand name or logo offers the broadest protection against potential trademark infringement.
  10. Professionals

    What Financial Advisors and Brokers Need to Know About Rule 407

    Learn about NYSE Rule 407 and how it may impact you as a financial advisor or investment broker. What you don't know about this regulation can hurt you.
  1. Are UTMA accounts escheatable?

    Like most financial assets held by institutions such as banks and investment firms, UTMA accounts can be escheated by state ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can the IRS audit you after a refund?

    The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can audit tax returns even after it has issued a tax refund to a taxpayer. According ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How does escheatment impact a company?

    In recent years, state governments have become increasingly aggressive in enforcing escheatment laws. As a result, many businesses ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What happens if property is wrongfully escheated?

    If your financial accounts, such as bank, investment or savings accounts, are declared dormant and the managing financial ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do financial advisors help you avoid escheatment?

    Financial advisors can help you avoid the escheatment of your financial assets by regularly reviewing all of your accounts, ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Are 401(k) accounts escheatable?

    Typically, 401(k) plans are not subject to state escheatment laws because they are covered under the Employee Retirement ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  2. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  3. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  4. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
  5. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the legal sense may also refer to an exemption from liability ...
  6. Discount Bond

    A bond that is issued for less than its par (or face) value, or a bond currently trading for less than its par value in the ...
Trading Center