Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Ignore Wall Street's Chatter: Here's Why You Need to Read Earnings Reports!

I know, I know. Looking through SEC reports isn't always fun. Honestly, it's part of my job and sometimes I have a hard time getting through them as well. But here's why it's important. Take a look at the following tweets and see if you can get a feel for how these companies performed in the most recent quarter:

Here's how Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) did over the past three months. It's Satya Nadella's first quarterly earnings call as CEO, so this is important.

Great! The company beat estimates, shares are up. Way to go, Nadella! But, then there's this:

Come on, Nadella, get it together!

OK, well, maybe Microsoft's earnings were a little confusing. Let's see how (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) did:

Well, that sounds kinda negative. How about another article from another source:

Hmm, that sounds much better.

But how do we figure out what's really going on?

The Foolish approach
To be sure, we can read the full articles and not just the headlines. But even when we do that, it's likely each article writer is using the same information and taking a new angle to make different points. And that's OK. The Motley Fool encourages its writers to do the same.

But as good as having someone recap the information can be, it may not paint the full picture. That's where going straight to the earnings report comes in. Reading one or two articles is helpful in adding context to the earnings numbers, but diving into the filings yourself will provide a fuller picture and make you a much better investor. 

Why? Because you'll be able to see the the quarterly numbers for yourself, and see what's changed sequentially and what's going on year over year. That'll give you a better long-term perspective on your stock instead of all the doom-and-gloom or unrealistic euphoria that sometimes surrounds earnings articles.

If you're new to investing, check out this Fool article on the right place to start investing now or our check out our 13 Steps to Investing Foolishly. If you'e a seasoned investor who needs to dig into earnings reports a little more, check out the SEC's EDGAR website and search for official earnings reports. Or you can type the ticker symbol on our website search box and then click the SEC filings tab. 

But no matter how you get the quarterly earnings information, make sure you're reading the official filings for yourself. It takes a little more patience than reading articles, but you'll get a better long-term perspective on how a company's doing, and you'll likely learn a little something in the process.

Oh, and here's The Motley Fool's top stock for 2014
Every year, The Motley Fool's chief investment officer hand-picks one stock with amazing potential. But it's not just any run-of-the-mill company. It's a stock perfectly positioned to cash in on the upcoming year's most lucrative trends. Last year his pick skyrocketed 134%. And previous top picks have gained upwards of 908%, 1,252% and 1,303%! Just click here to download your free copy of "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014" today.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2014, at 6:43 AM, Interventizio wrote:

    I agree with the article, even though with stocks such as BA and AFL that means going through 300+ pages.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2929850, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/28/2015 2:23:33 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Chris Neiger

Chris has covered Tech and Telecom companies for The Motley Fool since 2012. Follow him on Twitter for the latest tech stock coverage.

Today's Market

updated 5 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,654.77 369.26 2.27%
S&P 500 1,987.66 47.15 2.43%
NASD 4,812.71 115.17 2.45%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

8/27/2015 3:59 PM
MSFT $43.90 Up +1.19 +2.79%
Microsoft CAPS Rating: ***
AMZN $518.37 Up +17.60 +3.51% CAPS Rating: ***
QCOM $57.36 Up +0.70 +1.24%
Qualcomm CAPS Rating: ****