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Earnings tracking companies and news agencies regularly collate and publish averages of analysts' estimates of companies' upcoming results and countries' upcoming economic indicators. Known as consensus estimates, they provide an indication of the market's expectations about a company's net profit or earnings per share (EPS), for example, or a country's inflation, growth or unemployment rate. The difference, or not, between expectations and the actual figures allows investors and traders to put the market's reaction into perspective.
See also: Whisper Estimates, Signalling