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Three months of a year, often abbreviated as "Q." Q1 is January, February, and March; Q2 is April, May, and June; and so forth. Publicly traded companies must report on their earnings and other business performance measures every three months. Analysts also use quarters to measure performance internally. For example, one might compare sales in Q1 of 2009 to those in Q1 of 2008 to measure the company's health without having to account for seasonal variance. Often, quarters are abbreviated along with the calendar year; for example, the second quarter of 2006 is expressed as Q2 2006 or Q2/06.


1. One quarter of a point. For bond quotes, a quarter represents one quarter of 1% of par, or $2.50. Thus, a bond quoted at 91 2/4 is being offered for $917.50.
2. A 3-month period that represents 25% of a fiscal year.


The financial world splits up its calendar into four quarters, each three months long.

If January to March is the first quarter, April to June is the second quarter, and so on, though a company's first quarter does not have to begin in January.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires all publicly held US companies to publish a quarterly report, officially known as Form 10-Q, describing their financial results for the quarter. These reports and the predictions that market analysts make about them often have an impact on a company's stock price.

For example, if analysts predict that a certain company will have earnings of 55 cents a share in a quarter, and the results beat those expectations, the price of the company's stock may increase. But if the earnings are less than expected, even by a penny or two, the stock price may drop, at least for a time.

However, this pattern doesn't always hold true, and other forces may influence investor sentiment about the stock.


One-fourth of a year. For 2007, January, February, and March would be written as 1Q07; April,May,and June would be 2Q07,and so on.

References in periodicals archive ?
The growth of mortgage debt was somewhat slower in the first quarter than in 1996 and, according to available indicators, probably stayed at roughly the same rate during the second quarter.
Williams said the first quarter of 1990 was pretty dismal for housing starts.
The average price rose 48% for three-bedroom and larger units, and 34% for two-bedroom units from the first quarter of 2004.
Outlays dropped noticeably in the fourth quarter of 1995 and the first quarter of 1996, and preliminary data suggest that they remained at a fairly low level in the second quarter.
O'Neal concluded: "The combination of these operational, business and economic factors in the first quarter has caused a temporary set-back in our full-year revenue growth plan as well as our profitability turnaround.
The recession placed some strains on household finances, as indicated by the increase in delinquency rates for all types of consumer loans during the first quarter.
First Quarter 2006 Financial Results Conference Call - May 23, 2006 at 11:00 a.
In addition to Stamford, both the West and the North saw first quarter availability rates that were higher than a year ago.
Metro area condominium and cooperative prices, covering changes in 56 markets, show the national median existing condo price was $224,100 in the first quarter, up 5.
East Side post-war units registered a median price of $103,000 per room in the first quarter, 29% higher than last year, but short of the record $105,556 set last quarter.
Cigarette shipments in the first quarter totaled roughly 30.