An earnings call is a conference call (using teleconference or webcast) between a public company’s management, investors, analysts, and the media to announce and discuss a company’s financial results for a given reporting period such as a quarter or a fiscal year. A company usually holds an earnings call after the earnings report publication for that period. The name comes from Earnings per Share (EPS), namely the bottom component of the income statement divided by the number of outstanding shares.
Is an Earnings Call Important?
Earnings calls are one of the critical resources for analysts and investors. It can provide useful information that especially helps the analysts perform the company’s fundamental analysis. For investors, it is helpful as they often plan their trades close to the upcoming earnings call, so they would receive the relevant information without the hassle of looking at dozens of report pages. Investors will likely depend on the information released to decide how they will trade.
Nevertheless, preparing for earnings calls can take time and come at the expense of normal business operations. Further, when a company hosts an earnings call, it has to continue to engage the investment community and prevent negative speculations.
The company provides the records of earnings guidance and announcements for the public on its website. Many companies usually also publish transcripts of their earnings calls for weeks after the actual call. Hence, investors who could not log in to the call will be able to access the information.
How does It Work?
The public companies usually announce their upcoming earnings calls several days before the event. It aims to attract the parties interested in joining, such as investors, analysts, and journalists. There are three main sessions during an earnings call, they are:
- Safe harbor statement, in which the moderator will advise the participants that the call may include forward-looking statements.
- Presentation and discussion of the financial results. The company’s management (typically the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer) will take over the calls to present and discuss the results. Accordingly, they will give an overview of its upcoming goals and milestones. The executives also will discuss their plan’s impact on the future financial performance.
- Q&A Session. During this session, all the participants have a chance to ask questions regarding the presentation by the company’s management. Nevertheless, the management has the right to decline or defer answers to some questions.
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