'Consistent' Earnings Surprises
52 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2011 Last revised: 9 Sep 2014
Date Written: August 2014
We hypothesize that analysts with a bullish stock recommendation have an interest in not being subsequently contradicted by negative firm-specific news. As a result, these analysts report downward-biased earnings forecasts so that the company is less likely to experience a negative earnings surprise. Analogously, analysts with a bearish recommendation report upward biased earnings forecasts so that the firm is less likely to experience a strong positive earnings surprise. Consistent with this notion, we find that stock recommendations significantly and positively predict subsequent earnings surprises, as well as narrow beats versus narrow misses. Stock recommendations also predict earnings-announcement-day returns. A long-short portfolio that exploits this predictability earns abnormal returns of 125 basis points per month.
Keywords: Stock recommendations, Biased earnings forecasts, Career concerns
JEL Classification: G12, G14, G23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation