Analysts’ Choice of Peer Companies
46 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2012 Last revised: 23 Nov 2013
Date Written: November 22, 2013
This is the first large-scale study to examine the peer companies used by sell-side equity analysts in their research reports. Using a unique hand-collected data set, we investigate the relation between peer valuation and peer choice by analysts. Controlling for numerous factors, we find that analysts on average select peer companies with high valuations. We further find that this effect varies systematically with analysts’ incentives and ability. Our evidence provides partial support for the idea that analysts choose peers strategically. We also find some support for the idea that the selection of peers with high valuations is used in part to justify the optimistically skewed target prices and stock recommendations.
Keywords: Analysts, peer selection, valuation, stock recommendations, target prices, bias, incentives
JEL Classification: G30, G31, G32, G34, M41
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