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When a company's earnings report either exceeds or fails to meet analysts' estimates, it's called an earnings surprise.
An upside surprise occurs when a company reports higher earnings than analysts predicted and usually triggers an increase in the stock price.
A negative surprise, on the other hand, occurs when a company fails to meet expectations and often causes the stock's price to fall. Companies try hard to avoid negative surprises since even a small deviation can create a big stir.Yahoo Finance - Cite This Source - This Definition
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