Underreaction or Overreaction: The Post Earnings Announcement Drift
43 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2014 Last revised: 18 Aug 2017
Date Written: July 18, 2016
We test whether the well-documented post-earnings-announcement drift is a manifestation of an investor underreaction or overreaction to extremely good or bad earnings news. Using the market reaction to extreme earnings surprises (i.e., SUE) in quarter Qt as a reference point, we show that firms reporting a SUE in subsequent quarter Qt 1 that confirms their initial quarter Qt SUE ranking in the same highest or lowest SUE quintiles generate an incremental price run that moves in the same direction as that of the initial SUE. However, the price impact of the confirming SUE signal is weaker than that of its initial SUE. Our findings are robust to the Fama-French three-factor daily regression extended by the momentum factor and a number of other robustness tests. Our finding is not consistent with the prevalent view that investors underreact to earnings news. To the contrary, the results suggest an initial investor overreaction to extreme SUE signals.
Keywords: Earnings surprise; Initial SUE; Confirming SUE signals; Disconfirming SUE evidence; Overreaction; Price reversals
JEL Classification: G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation