Another word for profit, or net income, in this case the sum of the trailing four quarters' net income from continuing operations and discontinued operations.
Since many investors use earnings reports to make their investment decisions, there is an unfortunate tendency for companies to try to put a positive ""spin"" on their earnings reports by whatever methods necessary. Investors need to understand the different types of earnings presentations to get a clear picture of a company's financials. There are three types of earnings often presented
- Actual earnings. What a company earned including all current revenue and expenses.
- Operating earnings. Includes only revenue and costs from on-going operations. Excludes one-time non-operational charges such as gains or losses on sales of assets or one-time acquisition costs. Inventory write-downs and currency impacts are to be included in operating earnings (though the market often views them as special).
- Pro-forma earnings. Compares current quarter costs and losses against similar accounting practices and similar categories from the prior period. Excludes revenue and costs from operations that were not in the comparable quarter.