Earnings Per Share (EPS)

Updated on May 10, 2024
Article bySayantan Mukhopadhyay
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What is Earnings Per Share (EPS)?

Earnings Per Share (EPS) is a financial metric calculated by dividing the Net income by the total number of outstanding common shares. Investors use EPS to assess a company’s performance and profitability before investing. Higher EPS means the company is more profitable.

Earnings Per share Formula

You can calculate EPS using the formula given below –

Earnings Per Share Formula = (Net Income – Preferred Dividends)/Weighted Average Number of Shares Outstanding

The current year’s preferred dividends are subtracted from net income because EPS refers to earnings available to the common shareholder. Common stock dividends are not subtracted from net income.

Earnings Per Share (EPS)

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Source: Earnings Per Share (EPS) (wallstreetmojo.com)

Since the number of common shares outstanding may change over the year, the weighted average calculates EPS. The weighted average number of common shares is the number of shares outstanding during the year weighted by the year they were outstanding. Therefore, analysts need to find the equivalent number of whole shares outstanding for the year.

Three steps to calculate the weighted average number of common shares outstanding:

Identify the beginning balance of common shares and changes in the common shares during the year.

For each change in the common shares:

  • Step 1 – Compute the number of shares outstanding after each change in the common shares. The issuance of new shares increases the number of shares outstanding. The repurchase of shares reduces the number of shares outstanding.
  • Step 2 – Weight the shares outstanding by the portion of the year between this change and the next change: weight = days outstanding / 365 = months outstanding / 12
  • Step 3 – Sum up to compute the weighted average number of common shares outstanding. 

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Earnings Per Share (EPS) in Video


Earnings Per Share Calculation Examples

Let’s take a practical example to illustrate the earnings per share formula.

Example #1

Hit Technology Inc. has the following information –

  • The net income for the year-end 2017 – $450,000
  • The preferred dividends paid in 2017 – $30,000
  • At the beginning of the year 2017, the common shares outstanding were 50,000 shares. In the middle of the year, Hit Technology Inc. issued another 40,000 common shares.

Find out the earnings per share of Hit Technology Inc.

In the example, we know the net income and the preferred dividends. That means we know all the information needed for the numerator. However, we don’t know the weighted average of common shares outstanding; because we need to calculate that from the data given.

Let’s calculate the weighted average number of common shares outstanding first.

It’s said that at the beginning of the year, the firm had 50,000 common shares. And in the middle, 40,000 new common shares were issued.  So we can consider 50,000 shares for the entire year and 40,000 shares for the last six months.

Here’s the calculation –

  • Weighted average number of common shares = (50,000 * 1) + (40,000 * 0.5) = 50,000 + 20,000 = 70,000 shares.

Now, we will find out the EPS formula –

  • EPS formula = (Net Income – Preferred Dividends) / Weighted Average Number of Common Shares
  • Or. EPS formula = ($450,000 – $30,000) / 70,000
  • Or, EPS = $420,000 / 70,000 = $6 per share.

Example #2

Let us take the example of Colgate from the above example, the Net Income (2013) attributable to Common Shareholders is $2,241 million, and common shares outstanding is 930.8 million. EPS calculation of Colgate for 2014 is $2,241 / 930.8 = $2.41

Colgate Basic EPS

source – Colgate 10K filings

Example #3

Albatross Inc 2007 Net Income – $1,000,000. Additional data provided below

  • 100,000 Class A shares preferred cumulative shares, dividend amount of $2.00/share
  • 50,000 Class B shares preferred noncumulative shares, dividend amount $1.50/share
  • No Dividend declared or paid in the current year

What will be the numerator of basic EPS for Albatross Inc?

The numerator of EPS = Net Income – Preferred Dividends

Basic EPS Question
The weighted average number of shares calculation
Basic EPS Question - weighted average shares

The weighted average number of shares is calculated as per below –

Basic EPS - weighted average shares - solution

Effect of Stock Dividends & Stock Splits on EPS

In calculating the weighted average number of shares, stock dividends and stock splits are only changed in the units of measurement, not changes in the ownership of earnings. A stock dividend or split shareholders).

When a stock dividend or split occurs, the computation of the weighted average number of shares requires the restatement of the shares outstanding before the stock dividend or split. Therefore, it is not weighted by the year’s portion after the stock dividend or split.

Specifically, before starting the three steps of computing the weighted average, the following numbers are restated to reflect the effects of the stock dividend/split:

The beginning balance of shares outstanding;

  • All share issuance or purchase prior to the stock dividend or split;
  • No restatement is made for shares issued or purchased after the date of the stock dividend or split.

If a stock dividend or split occurs after the end of the year, but before the financial statements are issued, the weighted average number of shares outstanding for the year (and any other years presented in the comparative form) must be restated.


Calculate the weighted average number of shares for the following –

Example - Stock Split & Stock Dividend

The weighted average number of shares is calculated as per below –

Example - Stock Split & Stock Dividend - solution

Colgate’s Stock Dividends and Earnings Per Share

Colgate Case Study - Stock Dividends and EPS

As a result of 2013, Stock Split all historical per share data and numbers of shares outstanding were retroactively adjusted. In 2012, the shares outstanding were 476.1 million, and they almost doubled up to 930.8 million due to the two-for-one stock split.

Colgate Oustanding Shares 2013

source – Colgate 10K filings

Simple vs. Complex Capital Structure

A company’s capital structure is simple if it consists of only common stock or includes no potential common stock that, upon conversion or exercise, could result in a higher number of shares. Companies with simple capital structures only need to report basic EPS formula.

A complex capital structure has securities that could have a dilutive effect on earnings per common share.

Let us look at the Colgate earnings per share. We note that there are two variations – Basic and Diluted EPS in Colgate. Also, note that stock options and restricted stock units affect the total number of shares outstanding.

EPS - Colgate Dilutive Securities

Colgate has a complex capital structure – Why? The reason is that their capital structure contains stock options and restrictive stock units that may increase the number of shares outstanding (denominator). If the number of shares outstanding increases, then the EPS will decrease. Please note in the case of Colgate, the number of shares that increase due to stock options and restricted stock units is 9.1 million for 2014.

source – Colgate 10K filings

How Earnings Per Share Affects Stock Valuation?

Earning represents the company’s profitability and is considered to be the most important indicator of the company’s financial health. The publicly listed companies report earnings four times a year, and we note that research analysts and investors closely follow this earnings season. Growing earnings or EPS is a measure of a company’s great performance and, in a way, a measure of returns for the investor. EPS is direct to the stock markets by the wide tracked Wall Street PE Multiple or Price/EPS ratio. The lower the PE multiple compared to the Industry average PE, the better it is from investments and valuations. Stock prices react sharply to quarterly earnings due to the very same connection. For example, below is the share price movement of Blackberry Ltd after the quarterly earnings report. Note the sharp movements in the stock prices. Learn more about Enterprise Value and Equity Value here

Blackberry Post Earnings Share Price Movement

source – Reuters

This article has guided what Earnings Per Share (EPS) and its meaning is. Here we discuss how to calculate earnings per share along with weighted average shares, share splits, stock dividends, and practical examples. You may also learn more from the following articles on Shares

What Next?

If you learned something new or enjoyed the post, please leave a comment below. Let me know what you think. Many thanks, and take care. Happy Learning!

Reader Interactions


  1. Shalin says


    Firstly, I appreciate the blog you have created. This is one of the tremendous work you have done. I have a little bit query with regards to ‘Calculate the effect of Stock Splits & Stock Dividends’where your answer is 185000 as weighted average common share outstanding, and my answer is 162500. Can you please recalculate the Stock Splits & Stock Dividends on weighted average comm. share outstanding….?
    Thanks & Regards,

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Shalin,

      thanks for the question. I guess you missed the restatement that needs to be done due to 50% stock dividend. The calculation becomes (100,000 x 1.5 x 3/12) + (120,000 x 1.5 x 2/12) + ……


  2. alex Wang says

    Thanks so much for a clear picture for the EPS evolution.

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks Alex. :-)

  3. wilson says

    thank you so much, it is so helpful to me

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      thanks Wilson!

  4. jenni says

    dalam menghitung %perubahan eps, eps mana yang digunakan??
    eps dilusian atau eps dasar??

  5. Joan says

    I am preparing for a certification exam and your article provided much know leg area beyond what I needed. Thank you.

    • Dheeraj says

      Thanks Joan. I am glad you linked the article.


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  7. Sonal says

    Thanks for sch a good and informative post. You mentioned EPS is helpful for investors, analyst. But wont ROE give a better picture of companys performance ?

  8. Binodgopal Mukherjee says

    Helpful. Simple. Easy to understand. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


  9. Dennis says

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Thank you for this elaborate article on EPS. Your style of writing is simple, yet comprehensive.


    • Wall Street Mojo says

      Thank you Dennis.

  10. Suman says

    Dear Dheeraj,

    You articles relating to valuations are very helpful and easy to go thru. And very excellent stuff to learn and horn our valuation skills.


    Suman Kumar.K

    • Wall Street Mojo says

      Many thanks. I am glad you like these resources :-)