Basic EPS is the amount of income available to common shareholders divided by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding over a period. The amount of income available to common shareholders is the amount of net income remaining after preferred dividends (if any) have been paid. Thus, the formula to calculate basic EPS is:
Basic EPS =
Net income − Preferred dividends
Weighted average number of shares outstanding
The weighted average number of shares outstanding is a time weighting of common shares outstanding. For example, assume a company began the year with 2,000,000 common shares outstanding and repurchased 100,000 common shares on 1 July. The weighted average number of common shares outstanding would be the sum of 2,000,000 shares × 1/2 year + 1,900,000 shares × 1/2 year, or 1,950,000 shares. So the company would use 1,950,000 shares as the weighted average number of shares in calculating its basic EPS.
If the number of shares of common stock increases as a result of a stock dividend or a stock split, the EPS calculation reflects the change retroactively to the beginning of the period.
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