Definition of 'Quarter'
A quarter (noun) refers to one of four roughly equal periods of the year, each comprised of three consecutive months.
TheStreet Explains ‘Quarter’
Looking at a calendar year, quarter one (often abbreviated as Q1) comprises January, February, and March; quarter two (Q2) comprises April, May, and June; quarter three (Q3) comprises July, August, and September; and quarter four (Q4) comprises October, November, and December. The fiscal year for the U.S. Government, however, is slightly different in which Q1 is October, November, and December; Q2 is January, February, and March; and so on.
Publicly traded companies are required by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to report earnings on a quarterly basis to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a report called a 10Q (as well as on an annual basis in a report called a 10K), which may be accessed via the SEC’s filing system EDGAR. Analysts typically use quarters to measure the growth of a company by comparing, for instance, the first quarter of 2011 with the first quarter of 2010 to determine trends.
Specific quarters are also typically tied to expectations for specific sectors, roughly corresponding to seasonal events. Retail stores, for instance do a lot of business in the months leading up to the holiday season (corresponding to October, November, and December), and analysts will compare Q4 across multiple years to draw conclusions about the overall health of a sector. They will also use quarters to compare the performances of specific companies within a sector (i.e. Gap, Inc. versus Abercrombie & Fitch Company). Analysts often compare consecutive quarters in order to determine the health of a single company, which may or may not impact the company’s stock value. If a company posts better than expected earnings from one quarter to the next, for instance, the value of its stock may increase. If it doesn’t, then it may decrease.
Terms Related to 'Quarter':
Official name: Advance Monthly Retail SalesWhat e...
Articles Related to 'Quarter':
By Jim Griffin | 04/30/00 - 05:04 PM EDT