Computerized Investing > July/August 2006

On the Internet: Earnings Releases and Analyst Estimates

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Earnings Releases and Analyst Estimates

Analyst expectations and a company’s actual reported earnings can greatly affect stock prices. Logic dictates that investors will be rewarded for a positive earnings surprise and punished when earnings fail to meet expectations. However, that is not always the case. It is important to delve deeper into an earnings release to discover other factors at play, including future guidance and changes in costs and sales. Additionally, “whisper numbers,” the estimates of analysts free of company guidance or influence, can play a role in price movement.

Many Web sites offer plenty of data regarding earnings releases, including actual company earnings releases, analyst estimates and changes in the estimates over time. There are multiple sources for consensus earnings estimates, such as Thomson/First Call, I/B/E/S, Reuters and Zacks. The sites listed below report estimates from these sources, and many offer data free of charge. The data is usually found in the site’s stock quote section when you enter a ticker symbol.

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