What Does EPS Mean In Stock Trading?

What Does EPS Mean In Stock Trading?

The stock market is home to thousands of stocks from dozens of industries. Choosing the right ones to trade or invest in can be challenging even for seasoned professionals. This creates the demand for various metrics by which to compare stocks and choose the ones that fit the expectations of the investor. 

If you’ve ever traded stocks you may have heard the abbreviation ‘EPS’ before. EPS stands for earnings per share and is one of the most popular tools used in stock valuation. Often, reports from quarterly or annual earnings will highlight the discrepancies between forecasted and actual earnings per share, which has a major impact on the price of the stock once the news hits the market. 

For dividend investors, EPS might be an even more direct indicator of how much dividends to expect over the long term, as a consistent decline in the company’s earnings could mean a discontinuation of quarterly dividend payouts. 

If you are curious about how the EPS metric can be used in the stock market, this Investfox guide is for you. 

What Is EPS And What Does It Show?

As already mentioned, EPS stands for ‘Earnings Per Share’, which means that the metric is derived from two crucial points in the financial statements of the issuing company - earnings, and number of shares. 

Thus, The formula for calculating EPS is:

EPS = (Net Earnings / Number of Outstanding Shares).

To further break down the formula:

  • Net Earnings: This represents the company's profit after all expenses, taxes, and other deductions have been accounted for. It is often found on a company's income statement
  • Number of Outstanding Shares: This is the total number of shares of common stock that have been issued and are currently held by investors. This information can be found in a company's financial statements or in regulatory filings

EPS is an important metric as it shows how much profit a company generates for each of its outstanding shares. Investors use EPS to evaluate a company's financial health, profitability trends, and to make comparisons with other companies in the same industry or sector. 

Higher EPS generally indicates greater profitability on a per-share basis, which can be a positive sign for investors.

However, it is important to consider that the EPS figure alone is not a reliable indicator of a company’s growth prospects over the long run, as many short-term operational issues can impact the profitability of a company down the line. 

apple eps.png

Apple’s (APPL) EPS growth over the years. 

How Is EPS Used In Stock Trading?

In general, EPS is not the first metric stock traders look at when picking which stock to buy. While a company may be profitable and their per-share earnings might look impressive, many other factors can interfere with the earnings growth of a company and shift the EPS into a negative value - signaling net losses. 

However, this does not mean that the EPS is a negligible metric in stock trading, Here are a handful of applications for EPS:

  • Assessing profitability - EPS is a clear indicator of profitability on a per share basis and is a good metric to use when comparing companies from the same industry
  • Analyzing investment opportunities - EPS plays a crucial role in valuation models and investment analysis. For example, the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, which compares a company's stock price to its EPS, helps investors determine if a stock is overvalued or undervalued
  • Estimating future dividends - Companies often use a portion of their earnings to pay dividends to shareholders. By analyzing a company's EPS, investors can get insights into its ability to pay dividends and potentially predict future dividend payments
  • Tracking earnings guidance - Companies may provide earnings guidance to inform investors about their expected future earnings. By comparing actual EPS to these forecasts, investors can gauge whether a company is meeting or exceeding its financial targets

Key Takeaways From What Does EPS Mean In Stock Trading

  • Investors and traders use many different financial metrics to compare and evaluate companies to pick the best stocks 
  • The EPS, or earnings per share, shows how much a company generates in earnings per its single outstanding share
  • EPS can be used to assess risk, analyze investment opportunities and estimate future dividends 
  • Earnings per share and the price to earnings ratio are two of the most popular metrics used in stock trading 

FAQs On What Does EPS Mean In Stock Trading

What is EPS in stocks?

In stock trading, EPS refers to earnings per share, or the amount of profit generated by a company for a single share of its stock. 

What is EPS used for?

The EPS has many applications. Traders can use the metric to compare stocks, make investment decisions, evaluate profitability and estimate future dividends. However, the EPS figure alone is not a viable tool to base entire investment decisions on. 

Can EPS be negative?

Yes. A stock’s EPS figure can be negative if the company’s latest income statement shows a net loss, which is then divided by the total number of outstanding shares.