On the Internet: Earnings Releases and Analyst Estimates
by CI Staff
In this article
- Earnings Releases and Analyst Estimates
- MSN Money
Share this article
Earnings Releases and Analyst Estimates
Analyst expectations and a companys 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 sites stock quote section when you enter a ticker symbol.
SmartMoney.com offers a wide array of detailed earnings data in the form of charts, graphs and comparison tools. An Earnings vs. Expectations table lists the estimated, reported and GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) earnings per share for the most recent six quarters. The results are also illustrated in a bar graph. Average earnings forecasts for the current and upcoming quarter and fiscal year are provided in a table, along with the number of analysts, the high and low estimates and the year-ago earnings per share.
The earnings estimates from one week ago and one, two and three months ago for the current and upcoming quarter and fiscal year are shown as well. SmartMoney also gives the historical and forward-looking growth rates for the company, the industry and the S&P 500. Any of the sites earnings data can be compared to other stocks in an easy-to-read chart. Links to recent articles regarding a companys earnings releases are found at the bottom of the earnings data page.
Access to the earnings data is free.
MarketWatch offers basic earnings data provided by Thomson Financial, including the number of estimates, average estimates for the current and next quarter and fiscal year, high and low estimates, variance and actual earnings for the previous quarter and fiscal year. The most recent analyst recommendations are also listed. To view this data, simply enter the ticker symbol and choose Analyst. You can also view recent SEC filings.
Access to the site is free.
Unique to Earnings.com is a comprehensive list of upcoming investment events, including earnings releases, webcasts, investor conferences and initial public offerings. Earnings releases are grouped in a chart detailing the quarter, the earnings estimate, last years actual earnings per share, the date and time of the release and, if the announcement has already occurred, the actual earnings. Clicking on a company name will show upcoming webcasts and a chart of old earnings release data.
The site is free.
Morningstar.coms estimate data is updated weekly and includes the high, low and mean estimates for the current and next fiscal year. The average estimates for 30, 60 and 90 days ago and the number of estimates for each company are also given. Growth rates for each data point are calculated, along with a five-year growth forecast and the industry average growth rate. You can also see the average analyst ratings and comparisons to the industry and the S&P 500 ratings. Access to this data is free.
Paid subscribers can read analyst reports by choosing the Analyst Research tab. The reports outline a companys prospects based on growth, profitability, financial health and valuations. Letter grades are assigned for each category for evaluation purposes. The reports also provide same-quarter earnings comparisons for the past four quarters and graph earnings surprises from the last four quarters. Opinions of bull and bear traders are a useful comparison tool. A subscription to Morningstars Premium tools costs $135 per year. A free 14-day trial is available at the Web site.
Earnings estimates, surprises, consensus trends, and growth rates are offered on the MSN Money Web site. Average estimates are given for the current and upcoming quarter and fiscal year as well as the number of estimates, the high and low estimates, the year-ago actual earnings per share and the growth rate. The data is presented in a table as well as a bar chart. The most recent five quarters of earnings announcements are listed showing the actual earnings, the estimated earnings, the difference and the percent change from a year ago.
The site also tracks the consensus earnings trends, showing the average estimate from one week ago and one, two, and three months ago. The data is presented in a table as well as in a line graph. Historical and future earnings growth rates for the company, industry and the S&P 500 are compared as well. Quarterly financials filed with the SEC are available for download.
This site is free.
Consensus earnings and revenue estimates for the current and next quarter and fiscal year, including number of estimates, mean, high, low and standard deviation, are found on the Reuters Web site. Long-term earnings growth rates and earnings and revenue surprises for the past five quarters are also provided. Upward and downward trends in analyst revisions for revenue and earnings are tracked for the upcoming two quarters and fiscal years. The average estimates are given from one week, one month, two months and one year ago.
Reuters offers this data for free.
WhisperNumber.com provides investors with market sentiment, analyst expectations and earnings reports for U.S. and global stocks. The site tracks investor sentiment through a bimonthly survey sent to its members and then measures the submissions against analyst consensus numbers to predict earnings and stock movement. Each company in the database is assigned a whisper number, which is defined as the cumulative expectations of individual investors for quarterly earnings and revenues.
Charts on the home page list the most popular companiesthose with the most whisper expectationsas well as those with the most optimistic and pessimistic expectations. The quote page lists a stocks price and volume data along with the current Wall Street estimate, whisper number and date of the next earnings release.
An earnings calendar shows upcoming announcements sorted by day. Portfolios can be customized to track earnings announcements and send alerts with timely earnings data (such as new guidance or a change in the whisper number).
Site membership is free.
Zacks provides much of its free earnings data in near real-time. The sites earnings section is found under the Research heading. A list of the days earnings headlines with links to summaries of important releases is found on the earnings homepage. A near-real-time list of each days positive and negative earnings surprises is also shown on this page.
Clicking on a ticker symbol sends you to the sites Quote and Research page for the individual security, which includes financial data, charts and an earnings snapshot. The snapshot includes average, high and low estimates; the year-ago earnings per share; and growth rates for the current and upcoming quarter and fiscal year. A simple bar graph tracks the average estimate trend and the future growth rate for the next two quarters and fiscal years.
Each week the important trends in corporate earnings data are discussed in a commentary by Dirk Van Dijk. An earnings calendar offers links to lists of earnings releases sorted by date and includes the quarter-end date and the consensus estimate for each company. Zacks also tracks positive and negative sales surprises, which can play an important role in price movements. A free e-newsletter called Profit from the Pros includes earnings data as well as general market commentary and the stock picks.