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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 ?
If the defense is playing that well in the fourth quarter of tight games, then something is missing in the first three quarters.
Loan volume placed in the fourth quarter of 2003--as reported by major national lenders, including Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae--was $763 million in comparison with $834 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year.
In the fourth quarter of 1994, the Working Interest Owner expensed approximately $2,022,000 as final settlement of the remaining imbalance position.
The Lakers made a big move at the end of the third quarter to go up 74-66, heading into the fourth quarter.
Southern Westchester (-49,046) and Eastern Westchester (-108,825) experienced negative net absorption in the fourth quarter.
Higher revenues for the year and fourth quarter are due principally to the October 1, 1993, acquisition of The Boston Globe, higher advertising and circulation revenues in the Newspaper Group and strong local television advertising revenues.
We will provide an update of our other strategic initiatives (table management, table game progressives and RBL) during our fourth quarter 2006 earnings call.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the fourth quarter sales were equivalent to an annual rate of 5,150 units, which was about par for the whole year, although it fell considerably short of the exceptionally high adjusted rate of 7,610 units of the prior quarter.
Net sales in the fourth quarter ended February 4, 2007 ("fourth quarter of fiscal 2006") increased 17.
The number of closed escrows on sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California amounted to 565,050 for the fourth quarter of 2002 at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, a 15.
The association's metropolitan home price survey showed that 15 areas, most of which were relatively lower-priced, recorded double- digit price gains between the fourth quarter of 1992 and the fourth quarter of 1993.
The fourth quarter vacancy rate for 1992 stood at 19 percent, compared to 1991's fourth-quarter figure of 20.