UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH) is expected to report fiscal first-quarter earnings on Thursday, April 18. The whisper number is $1.20, six cents ahead of the analysts' estimate. UNH has a 74% positive surprise history, having topped the whisper number in 20 of the 27 earnings reports for which we have data.
- Beat whisper: 20 quarters
- Met whisper: 0 quarters
- Missed whisper: 7 quarters
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 time frame:
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The strongest price movement of +1.7% comes within 20 trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper number, and +1.4% within five trading days when the company reports earnings that miss the whisper number. While the strongest price moves are positive, the average price movement through 30 trading days when the company reports earnings is inconsistent. The company shows an opposite price reaction through five and 30 trading days, an as expected reaction at 10 trading days, and a positive reaction at 20 trading days.
The table below indicates the most recent earnings reports and short-term price reaction:
In the comparable quarter last year, the company reported earnings three cents ahead of the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 3.4% gain in five trading days. Last quarter, the company reported earnings one cent short of the whisper number. Following that report, the stock realized a 4.2% gain in five trading days. Overall historical data indicates the company to be (on average) an "inconsistent' price reactor" through 30 trading days when the company reports earnings that beat the whisper.
Enter your expectation and view more earnings information here, or let us know your expectation in the comments section below. 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 who 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.