To Buy or Not to Buy? The Value of Contradictory Analyst Signals
33 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2012 Last revised: 9 Jan 2013
Date Written: May 23, 2012
We study the predictive ability of individual analyst target price changes for post-event abnormal stock returns within each recommendation category. Although prior studies generally demonstrate the investment value of target prices, we find that target price changes do not cause abnormal returns within each recommendation level. Instead, contradictory analyst signals (e.g., strong buy reiterations with large target price decreases) neutralize each other, whereas confirmatory signals reinforce each other. Further, our analysis reveals that large target price downgrades can be explained by preceding stock price decreases. However, upgrades are not preceded by stock price increases, thereby demonstrating an asymmetric analyst behavior when adjusting target prices to stock prices. Our results suggest that investors should treat recommendations with caution when they are issued with large contradictory target price changes. Thus, instead of blindly following a recommendation, investors might put more weight on the change in the corresponding target price and consider transaction costs.
Keywords: Analyst, Recommendation, Target Price, Stock Performance, Trading Strategy
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G17, G24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation