How Naive Is the Stock Market's Use of Earnings Information?

Ray Ball

University of Chicago - Accounting

Eli Bartov

NYU Stern School of Business

Rendleman Jones and Latane (1987) and Bernard and Thomas (1990) report evidence supporting their hypothesis that investors use a "naive" seasonal random walk model in forming expectations of quarterly earnings. Using the Bernard and Thomas (1990) data we show that the market acts as if it: (1) does not use a seasonal random walk model; (2) does incorporate past earnings changes in forming expectations; (3) does use the correct signs in exploiting serial correlation in seasonally-differenced quarterly earnings; but (4) underestimates the magnitude of the serial correlation. This evidence remains anomalous in the sense that it is consistent with neither the theory of efficient markets nor the "naive expectation model" hypothesis nor "behaviorial finance" theories.

JEL Classification: G41

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Date posted: February 24, 1998  

Suggested Citation

Ball, Ray and Bartov, Eli, How Naive Is the Stock Market's Use of Earnings Information?. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=55467

Contact Information

Ray Ball (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Accounting ( email )

Chicago Booth School of Business Logo

Eli Bartov
NYU Stern School of Business ( email )
44 W. 4th Street, Suite 10-96
New York, NY 10012
United States
212.998.0016 (Phone)
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