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See the earnings per share article on Foolish Wiki--

For more about earnings, you might want to find a book on accounting for the non-accounting manager from your local library or bookstore.

No earnings is not gross revenue. Gross revenue is the top line of a typical earnings statement; after tax earnings is usually the bottom line. From gross revenue, all expenses including cost of goods sold, administrative, research, interest expense, engineering, etc, get deducted. Then income taxes.

Most financial sites report last year and last quarter earnings. For five year data, you will often find it in annual reports of the company, or in reports such as those offered by Value Line or Standard and Poors.

But be careful in comparing earnings from year to year. Often earnings are adjusted for non recurring items. Sales or acquisition of businesses can distort numbers. And earnings per share are distorted by items like share repurchases.

S&P in particular strives to report comparable data, but executives seeking to hide deviations from the ideal can use accounting to smoothe over some events.
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