Detailed Management Earnings Forecasts: Do Analysts Listen?
Kenneth J. Merkley
Cornell University - Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management
Linda Smith Bamber
University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting
Theodore E. Christensen
Brigham Young University - Marriott School of Management
February 13, 2012
Review of Accounting Studies, Forthcoming
We provide archival evidence on how a particular type of supplementary information affects the credibility of management earnings forecasts. Managers often provide detailed forecasts of specific income statement line items to shed light on how they plan to achieve their bottom-line earnings targets. We assess the effect of this forecast disaggregation on the credibility of management earnings forecasts. Based on a relatively large hand-collected sample of 900 management earnings forecasts, we find that disaggregation increases analysts’ sensitivity to the news in managers’ earnings guidance, suggesting that analysts find the guidance more credible. More importantly, we identify several factors that influence this relation. First, disaggregation plays a more important role when earnings are otherwise more difficult to forecast. Second, disaggregation is more important after Regulation Fair Disclosure prohibited selective disclosure, especially for firms that were more affected because they had previously provided more private guidance. Finally, in contrast to common assertions in the prior literature, we find that in more recent years, disaggregation matters more for guidance that conveys bad news. Managers as well as researchers should be interested in evidence suggesting that financial analysts find disaggregation especially helpful in contexts where managers’ credibility is particularly important.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: Management Earnings Forecasts, Disaggregation, Security Analysts
JEL Classification: D84, G14, G17, G18, M41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 13, 2011 ; Last revised: March 3, 2012
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