Dispersion in Analysts' Earnings Forecasts and Credit Rating

Posted: 26 Feb 2008 Last revised: 19 Mar 2009

See all articles by Doron Avramov

Doron Avramov

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah

Tarun Chordia

Emory University - Department of Finance

Gergana Jostova

George Washington University - Department of Finance

Alexander Philipov

George Mason University - Department of Finance

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Abstract

This paper shows that the puzzling negative cross-sectional relation between dispersion in analysts' earnings forecasts and future stock returns may be explained by financial distress, as proxied by credit rating downgrades. Focusing on a sample of firms rated by S&P, we show that the profitability of dispersion-based trading strategies concentrates in a small number of the worst-rated firms and is significant only during periods of deteriorating credit conditions. In such periods, the negative dispersion-return relation emerges as low-rated firms experience substantial price drop along with considerable increase in forecast dispersion. Moreover, even for this small universe of worst-rated firms, the dispersion-return relation is nonexistent when either the dispersion measure or return is adjusted by credit risk. The results are robust to previously proposed explanations for the dispersion effect such as short-sale constraints and leverage.

Keywords: Dispersion in analyst forecasts, asset-pricing anomalies, credit risk, credit rating

JEL Classification: G11, G12, G14

Suggested Citation

Avramov, Doron and Chordia, Tarun and Jostova, Gergana and Philipov, Alexander, Dispersion in Analysts' Earnings Forecasts and Credit Rating. Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Vol. 91, pp. 83-101, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1097664

Doron Avramov

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliyah ( email )

P.O. Box 167
Herzliya, 46150
Israel

Tarun Chordia

Emory University - Department of Finance ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30322-2710
United States
404-727-1620 (Phone)
404-727-5238 (Fax)

Gergana Jostova (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Finance ( email )

2201 G St NW
Funger Hall, Suite 501
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-7478 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://home.gwu.edu/~jostova

Alexander Philipov

George Mason University - Department of Finance ( email )

Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://mason.gmu.edu/~aphilipo

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