Understanding The Concept Of Operating Profit and its impact on Stocks

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By Smharun121

There are many aspects or metrics to consider as an investor before deciding on a stock for intraday trading. However, one of the most important metrics to consider when judging a firm is profitability from the perspective of a firm and its measured operating profit. As an investor, one may need to figure out what operating profits mean and how it is related to a firm’s stock. Operating profits, often known as earnings before interest and taxes, is the finance metric that represents what a firm makes from its primary, normal operations. This figure is calculated as the difference between operating expenses and income, excluding non-operating incomes, non-operating expenses, interests, and taxes. Operating profit supplies critical information about a company’s ability to produce a profit by running its operations.

The importance of operating profit

The term operating profit fulfils an important function for investors. If a company earns a lot of high operating profit and at the same time remains relatively stable for a long period, this indicates that the company possesses of the highest possible level an immensely efficient and sustainable business model. A firm spends minimal effort and money on making strategic decisions that maximise revenue from primary revenue basic sales channels. It is particularly indicative in an industry where work takes place in markets with fierce competition and small profit percentages, where literally operational errors can be costly.

Calculating operating profit

Firstly, a company has to calculate the total revenue, which is all the money generated from selling goods or services to customers. It is the indicator of how productive a company’s core business processes are and how well it can monetize what it proposes. Secondly, one has to figure out operating expenses and deduct them from revenue. Operating expenses are all the money that a company spends while running a business. They include rent, paying utilities, hiring employees and salary or wage, marketing and promotional spending, and any other expense generated by business processes.

Gross profit vs. operating profit

One might say that while being measurements of the company’s profitability, gross profit and operating profit differ significantly. Essentially, gross profit is an initial income statement item that reduces the direct costs associated with producing goods or services, also known as the cost of goods sold, from total revenue. It is the profitability a company obtains when it has considered the costs needed for its revenue generation. On the other hand, operating profit goes deeper in calculations and subtracts all the operating expenses, such as overhead costs which are more generalised through the company, like rent, utilities, salaries, and general administrative expenses. This profitability scales a company’s income in terms of its core operations expenses, factoring in all the necessary total for the business to operate. Thus, saying that this difference is essential in achieving a cohesive view of a company’s financial performance is an understatement.

Operating margin: A key profitability ratio

The operating margin is a further indicator of a company’s efficiency in its operating activities. It is calculated as a percentage of operating profit to revenue. If the operating margin is high, this indicates that a company may earn a good profit from its principal operational transactions. On the other hand, a low operating margin suggests that the company cannot cover its costs or generate enough revenue.

Operating profit and stock valuations

Operating profit has a vital role in stock valuation. Investors generally rely on the valuation determined by the P/E ratio. It is a measurement of comparison between a company’s stock price and the company’s earnings per share. Since operating profit arises in the calculation of EPS, an operating profit has a direct impact on a company’s stock valuation.

Evaluating a company’s performance

In essence, in the grand scheme of things, measuring operating profit may expose how well a company has done within a given period. While analysing a business’s operating profit numbers for multiple reporting periods, an investor may see a trend and assess whether the company in consideration is growing more or less profitable. This might enable more rational financial decision-making when considering whether to purchase, hold, or sell a specific stock.

Comparing companies within an industry

Comparing operating profits between companies in the same sector is another potential use. In particular, investors can analyse and compare competitors’ operating profits to determine which is the best performer and most likely to be able to continue generating significant profits from their core operating activities. This information can then help select the best companies to invest in within a given sector.

Impact of non-operating factors

So it is obvious that operating profit does not take into account factors that are non-operational as for costs and revenue, including taxes, interest, and gains or losses which are non-recurring. Thus, given the income statement, those factors being genuinely significant may influence the company’s bottom line significantly. Accordingly, it can be concluded that operating profit should not be assumed as the most meaningful measure of a company’s performance.

Limitations of operating profit

However, operating profit has some flaws as well. They include the lack of assessment of the cost of capital and the re-investment process needed to sustain and expand the company. Furthermore, this metric is dependent on accounting techniques and managerial decisions that may not present the most objective depiction of the firm’s financial well-being.

Using operating profit in conjunction with other metrics

Operating profit should be considered along with other financial metrics to get a complete sense of a company’s financial performance and enable accurate predictions of its future growth. Investors should also combine operating profit with cash flow statements, balance sheets, and other industry-specific indicators to make better investments.


Operating profit is an important indicator for investors assessing the profitability and financial stability of a company when choosing the best broker for intraday trading. An analysis of operating profit allows investors to evaluate a company’s profitability through its main activities, track the dynamics of its indicators, and also compare them with indicators of other companies of similar profile.

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