UK Accounting Glossary
An earnings estimate is an estimate of a company’s future financial performance. They are based on historical financial performance, guidance offered by company management, and economic forecasting models. An earnings estimate is used to help determine the future valuation of a stock or industry.
Institutional Brokers’ Estimate System (IBES), First Call, and Zack’s collect an earnings estimate from a number of analysts and use them to calculate a consensus earnings estimate. When the consensus earnings estimate is markedly different from the earnings actually reported by a company, it is referred to as an earnings surprise. If several analysts provide an earnings estimate that is significantly different than the consensus earnings estimate, it is often reported as the whisper number. As it takes as little as one extreme earnings estimate to affect it, the whisper number is viewed as highly speculative.
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This glossary post was last updated: 9th February 2020.