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Trailing 12 months refers to the most recently completed one-year period of a company’s financial performance, up through the most recently reported quarter. This is different from the annual report, which shows fiscal year data. 

Trailing 12 months data is calculated by taking the most recent annual report, adding the most recently reported quarters, then subtracting the equivalent quarters from the annual report’s data for the previous year.

In August 2014, an analyst wanted to learn Boxco’s trailing 12 month income. Its last annual report showed previous full year income of $5 million through 3/31/14, the end of the fiscal year. The most recent quarterly report, ending 6/30/14, Q2, showed income of $1.5 million in that quarter.

To calculate the trailing 12 month income, the analyst must first look up the income for the equivalent quarter, Q2, in 2013. He finds this is $1 million.

Now he can take the last fiscal year income of $5 million, add the recent quarter income of $1.5 million, and subtract the previous year’s Q2 of $1 million, to get a trailing 12 month income of $5.5 million.

This shows the analyst that Boxco's 12-month income increased by half a million dollars in the quarter following the last annual report.

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