How to Calculate EPS (TTM)

by Tim Plaehn

Earnings per share -- EPS -- is the net profit of a publicly traded corporation divided by the number of shares outstanding for the company. Measuring the EPS over time provides an indication of whether the company's profitability in relation to a single share is rising or falling. Measuring the EPS against the share price can give you an indication of the return on investment of each share, which can be a useful tool for comparing one company's profitability to another. The trailing 12 months -- TTM -- EPS value is updated every time a corporation reports new earnings results. U.S. publicly traded companies are required to file an earnings report every three months. The annual earnings per share is the profit for the most recent fiscal year, while the TTM earnings per share are updated each time results are published for the first three quarters of the year.

Locate the investor relations page on the website of a company for which you want to calculate the EPS TTM. This page provides a wide range of information for investors. Some information is required by securities laws and rules and other information is voluntary to help investors learn about the company.

Look for one or both of two menu items usually referred to as news or press releases and financial reports or filings. All publicly traded companies are required to file quarterly and annual financial reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These reports will be linked under the appropriate menu. Most companies also issue a quarterly press release to summarize and add additional information to the quarterly results. For this calculation, using press releases is the easier path. Use the SEC filings if the company does not issue quarterly earnings press releases.

Locate and view the four most recent quarterly earnings reports and note the earnings per share for each quarter. The earnings per share will usually be highlighted in the opening paragraphs and will also be a line item on the income statement deeper into the report. Fourth quarter financial results will be combined with the full year financial results after the end of the company's fiscal year. Most year-end earnings press releases will break out the quarter and full year earnings per share.

Total the earnings per share from each of the four most recent earnings reports. When a new quarterly report is published, the earnings per share from the oldest quarter is dropped from the total and the new earnings are added in.

Tips

  • To track quarterly earnings reports from a company, sign up for email notification on the investor relations page. You will receive an email each time a new earnings report is published.
  • Some companies report different types of earnings per share. Generally accepted accounting principles -- GAAP -- earnings are required by the SEC. Some companies also report an adjusted -- non-GAAP -- earnings per share if the company believes the adjusted earnings more accurately reflect the business results of the company. Adjusted earnings are not published in the income statement but can be included in the business discussion portion of a report or in a separate table that discusses the adjustments made to GAAP earnings. Choose one type of earnings and stick to that type when calculating the trailing EPS.

Items you will need

  • Calculator
  • Note pad

About the Author

Tim Plaehn has been writing financial, investment and trading articles and blogs since 2007. His work has appeared online at Seeking Alpha, Marketwatch.com and various other websites. Plaehn has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

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