Being Surprised by the Unsurprising: Earnings Seasonality and Stock Returns
66 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2014 Last revised: 20 Jan 2017
Date Written: March 1, 2016
We present evidence consistent with markets failing to properly price information in seasonal earnings patterns. Firms with historically larger earnings in one quarter of the year (“positive seasonality quarters”) have higher returns when those earnings are usually announced. Analysts have more positive forecast errors in positive seasonality quarters, consistent with the returns being driven by mistaken earnings estimates. We show that investors appear to overweight recent lower earnings following positive seasonality quarters, leading to pessimistic forecasts in the subsequent positive seasonality quarter. The returns are not explained by risk-based explanations, firm-specific information, increased volume, or idiosyncratic volatility.
Keywords: Earnings, Seasonality, Mispricing, Analysts, Anomalies
JEL Classification: G12, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation