Analysts' Response to Earnings Management
University of Texas at Dallas - Department of Accounting & Information Management
March 1, 2005
Previous literature studies analysts' earnings forecasts without considering firms' response to analysts' forecasts. This study improves upon previous research by considering firms' earnings management with respect to analysts' forecasts. I hypothesize that analysts understand these earnings management practices, and incorporate firms' expected behavior into their forecasts. I demonstrate that for firms with high tendencies and flexibilities to manage earnings downwards, and/or firms with negatively skewed earnings, analysts account for earnings management practices by lowering the otherwise optimal forecasts. Comparing analysts' consensus forecasts with proxy for non-strategic forecasts (otherwise optimal forecasts), I find that analysts' forecasts are systematically below the non-strategic forecasts for firm-quarters that have: high accounting reserves available to manage earnings downwards, high unmanaged earnings, low debt to equity ratios, negative forecasted earnings, and negatively skewed unmanaged earnings. These results suggest that analysts forecast below the non-strategic level in order to avoid the large optimistic forecast errors that occur when firms who cannot meet forecasts manage earnings downward. The test results also suggest that analysts forecast above the non-strategic forecasts when earnings are positively skewed, and/or when firms have high tendencies and flexibilities to manage earnings upwards.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 54
Keywords: Meet analysts' forecasts, earnings management, strategic behavior
JEL Classification: G29, M41, M43working papers series
Date posted: November 22, 2004
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