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Staples (SPLS) is expected to report fiscal fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday, March 6th. The whisper number is $0.45, in-line with the analysts' estimate. Whispers range from a low of $0.43 to a high of $0.47. SPLS has a 44% positive surprise history (having topped the whisper in 19 of the 43 earnings reports for which we have data).

Earnings history:

- Beat whisper: 19 qtrs
- Met whisper: 5 qtrs
- Missed whisper: 19 qtrs

Our primary focus is on post earnings price movement. Knowing how likely a stock's price will move following an earnings report can help you determine the best action to take (long or short). In other words, we look at what happens when the company beats or misses the whisper number expectation.

The table below indicates the average post earnings price movement within a one and 30 trading day timeframe:

(click to enlarge)

The strongest price movement of 3.7% comes within 30 trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number, and -7.6% within 30 trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number (price movement as expected).

The table below indicates the most recent earnings reports and short-term price reaction:

(click to enlarge)

The post earnings price movement within five trading days has been negative in four of the four most recent quarters. The company did miss (or just meet) the whisper number in three out of four of these quarters. In the comparable quarter last year, the company reported earnings in-line with the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 6.5% loss in one trading day. Last quarter, the company reported earnings two cents ahead of the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 0.1% loss in five trading days. While overall historical data indicates an "as expected" price reaction following earnings, more recent reports indicate a negative short-term price move when the company reports earnings short of expectations.

Enter your expectation and view more earnings information here, or let us know your expectation in the comments section below.

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Since 1998, WhisperNumber.com has been tracking and publishing "crowd sourced estimates" for earnings. We call these earnings expectations whisper numbers. Our whisper numbers are gained from individual investors and traders just like you that have registered with our site. While the whisper number itself is an important part of our analysis, a company's "price reaction" to beating or missing the whisper number expectation is the key. On average, companies that exceed the whisper are "rewarded," while companies that miss are "punished" following an earnings report.

Source: Whisper Number Impact: Earnings Preview For Staples