Earnings per share (EPS) ratio & what it means!

by Amandeep Singh

in Stocks Market Dictionary

Even comparing the earnings of one company to another really doesn’t make any sense, if you think about it.

Earnings will tell you nothing about how many shares the company has. Because you do not know how many shares a company has, you do not know how many parts that companies earnings have to be divided into. If the company has more shares, the earnings will be divided into more parts.

For example, companies A and B both earn Rs.100, but company A has 10 shares outstanding, so each share holder has in effect earned Rs.10.On the other hand, if company B has 50 shares outstanding and they too have earned Rs.100 then each shareholder has earned Rs.2. So you see it is important to know what is the total number of outstanding shares are as well as the earnings.

Thus it makes more sense to look at earnings per share (EPS), as a comparison tool. You calculate earnings per share by taking the net earnings and divide by the outstanding shares. EPS = Net Earnings / Outstanding Shares So looking at the EPS ratio, you should go buy Company A with an EPS of 10, right? EPS is not the only basis of comparing two companies, but it is one of the methods used. Note that there are three types of EPS numbers:

Trailing EPS – last year’s numbers and the only actual EPS
Current EPS – this year’s numbers, which are still projections
Forward EPS – future numbers, which are obviously projections

EPS doesn’t tell you whether it’s a good stock to buy or what the market thinks of it. For that information, we need to look at some other ratios next….
Next – Price to earnings ratio (P/E) ratio & what is it? >>
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