Analysts and investors talk a lot about a company's guidance, which is the forecast companies give for how things such as earnings and sales will be in the future.
Strong guidance that predicts, for instance, a substantial boost in sales is seen as a good sign. Also, if a company is "guiding" for $0.45 a share in earnings and ends up with $0.48, that's a good sign that can push the stock higher. Coming in with results below guidance can push a stock lower as investors think something went wrong.
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