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The quality of earnings refers to the proportion of income attributable to the core operating activities of a business. The amount of earnings attributable to higher sales or lower costs has higher quality, rather than artificial profits created by accounting anomalies such as inflation of inventory. Quality of earnings may be considered poor during times of high inflation. Also earnings that are calculated conservatively are considered to have higher quality than those calculated by aggressive account policies. A key characteristic of high-quality earnings is that the earnings are readily repeatable over a series of reporting periods, rather than being earnings that are only reported as the result of a one-time event.

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