Earnings estimates are important indicators of how well a company is performing and how the market values its prospects according to its profitability. They reflect the collective opinion of analysts who follow the company and its industry closely and have access to various sources of information. Earnings estimates can help investors make informed decisions about whether to buy or sell a stock, as they provide a benchmark for evaluating the company's actual results.
However, earnings estimates are not always accurate or reliable. They are based on assumptions and projections that may not materialize or may change over time. Analysts may have different methodologies or opinions about the company's future performance. They may also face pressures or biases from their employers, clients, or the media. Moreover, companies may manipulate their earnings reports to meet or beat the estimates, which can distort their true financial situation.
Therefore, investors should not rely solely on earnings estimates when making investment decisions. They should also look at other factors such as the company's fundamentals, competitive advantages, growth potential, and risks. They should also compare the earnings estimates with the actual results and analyse the reasons for any discrepancies. This can help them understand the company's strengths and weaknesses and adjust their expectations accordingly.