Earnings Per Share: An Explainer

Earnings Per Share: An Explainer

Investors and shareholders alike use many tools and formulas to analyse a company. Understanding a company financially is important when deciding if they are something worth investing in. One of these formulas is Earnings per Share. Earnings Per Share (EPS) is fundamental in order to do a thorough analysis of a company. It is an important method in determining a company’s profitability and financial health. This article will serve to explain what earnings per share is, and why it is important. We will also look at some of the limitations in using it.

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What is Earnings Per Share?

Earning per share (ESP) is the proportion of a company’s profit that can be accredited to each outstanding ordinary share in the company. To calculate a companies ESP, its net profit and number of ordinary shares need to be known. By dividing the company’s net profit by its number of ordinary shares, we will find its ESP:

Net profit after tax ÷ Number of shares on issue = Earnings per Share

The resulting ESP form an important method of analyzing a company. They serve as an indicator of a company’s profitability. The higher its ESP, the more profitable it is considered. Comparing it to previous years can also give a good indicator of the companies growth. Overall, the ESP is a great indicator of how much money a company makes for each share of its stock.

Why Earnings per Share is Important

Earnings per share are a key indicator of a company’s profitability. Having high ESP has significant impacts on the companies share price, and its appeal to investors and shareholders. A higher ESP indicates more value, investors are likely to pay more for a company with higher profits. Companies include their ESP when releasing their annual reports, and how it compares to previous years. Immediately after this, a companies share price can move sharply up or down depending on the results. If a company has a high ESP, it means it has more money available. These additional funds can either be reinvested in the business or distributed to stockholders in the form of dividend payments. In either scenario, the investors win.

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Limitations

Earning per share are an indicator of a companies profitability. It rises when the company is doing well financially. As an indicator of its overall financial health, it does have limitations and can be skewed. For example, ESP can be misleading, even manipulated. If a company buys back some of its own shares, then there will be less ordinary shares on issue and therefore more earnings will be attributed to each, even though profit could have shrunk.

On the other hand, ESP may make a company seem less valuable. For example. Generally a falling ESP is negative, but this may have been skewed by a stock split.

ESP does not also take into account outside factors. It can be positively or adversely affected by economic factors that are beyond its control and also impacting other companies. A good example is the current COVID-19 pandemic. On its own, ESP should be taken as a grain of salt. It should be treated as just one component of your analysis of a company.

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