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Earnings Per Share, Diluted

Decoding Earnings per Share (EPS): An Essential Entry in the Investor's Glossary


Earnings per Share (EPS) is a fundamental financial term that holds a central position in the analysis of a company's financial health and its potential profitability as an investment. This comprehensive guide aims to provide a thorough understanding of EPS, how it is calculated, and its significance to investors.

Earnings per share (DPS)


Earnings per Share (EPS) is a portion of a company's profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock. It serves as an indicator of a company's profitability and is often used by investors to compare profitability between companies and industries.

Context and Use

EPS is one of the most widely used metrics in financial analysis and investment decision-making. A higher EPS can suggest a company is more profitable and has more profits to distribute to its shareholders. However, EPS is most beneficial when used in comparison with other companies in the same industry.

Detailed Explanation

The formula for calculating EPS is:

EPS = (Net Income - Dividends on Preferred Stock) / Average Outstanding Shares

Here's a breakdown of each component of the formula:

  • Net Income: The total earnings or profit a company made over a specific period after subtracting all costs, including the cost of goods sold (COGS), operating expenses, interest, taxes, and others.

  • Dividends on Preferred Stock: Preferred stock dividends are deducted from the net income because EPS applies only to common stockholders.

  • Average Outstanding Shares: These are the company's shares that are bought and held by its shareholders.

Two forms of EPS that investors commonly use are basic EPS and diluted EPS. Basic EPS does not account for dilution - the reduction in EPS that could occur if securities convertible into shares (such as stock options and convertible bonds) are converted. Diluted EPS, on the other hand, factors in these potential conversions.


Suppose a company had a net income of $10 million, paid $1 million in dividends on preferred stock, and had 1 million average outstanding shares. The EPS would be calculated as follows:

EPS = ($10 million - $1 million) / 1 million = $9 per share

This implies that the company generated a profit of $9 per share.

Related Terms

  • P/E Ratio (Price/Earnings Ratio): This ratio is used to value a company, measuring its current share price relative to its EPS.

  • Dividends per Share (DPS): This is the sum of declared dividends for every share of stock issued, providing an indication of the dividends a shareholder can expect for each share of stock they hold.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Is a higher EPS always better? A: Not always. A higher EPS indicates that a company is profitable. However, it's crucial to consider the company's EPS relative to its competitors and its historical EPS trend. Sudden jumps in EPS may be due to non-recurring events and might not be sustainable.

Q2: Can the EPS be negative? A: Yes, EPS can be negative when a company incurs a loss rather than a profit. This could be a red flag for investors as it indicates the company is not profitable during that period.

Q3: What does diluted EPS mean? A: Diluted EPS takes into account all the securities that could potentially be converted into shares (like stock options, convertible preferred shares, convertible debentures, share warrants, etc.) and calculates what the EPS would be if all these potential shares were issued.

Q4: How does EPS affect a company's share price? A: EPS is an important determinant of share price because it indicates how much profit the company is making for its shareholders. If a company’s EPS increases, it often results in the increase of its share price, assuming all other factors remain constant.

Q5: What is the difference between basic and diluted EPS? A: Basic EPS does not take into account the dilution that could happen if all convertible securities were converted into shares. Diluted EPS, on the other hand, does factor in these potential conversions.

Q6: How often is EPS reported? A: Companies usually report EPS quarterly and annually in line with their earnings reports.


Earnings per Share (EPS) is a critical metric that investors use to gauge a company's profitability. By understanding how EPS is calculated and what it represents, investors can make more informed decisions about the companies in which they invest.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Always seek professional advice before making any financial decisions.