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American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) is expected to report fiscal fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday, March 6th. The whisper number is $0.58, two cents ahead of the analysts' estimate. AEO has a 65% positive surprise history (having topped the whisper in 13 of the 20 earnings reports for which we have data).

Earnings history:

- Beat whisper: 13 qtrs
- Met whisper: 3 qtrs
- Missed whisper: 7 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 thirty trading day timeframe:

(click to enlarge)

The strongest price movement of -2.7% comes within twenty trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number, and -10.6% within thirty trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number (negative reactor).

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 positive in four of the four most recent quarters with a whisper number. The company did beat the whisper number in only two out of four of these quarters. In the comparable quarter last year, the company reported earnings one cent short of the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 6.6% gain in five trading days. The company did not have a whisper number last quarter. While overall historical data indicates a negative price reaction following earnings, more recent reports indicate a positive short term price move when the company reports earnings ahead of or 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.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Source: Whisper Number Impact: Earnings Preview For American Eagle