The Rewards to Meeting or Beating Earnings Expectations
37 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2000
Date Written: October 2000
The paper studies the manner by which earnings expectations are met, measures the rewards to meeting or beating earnings expectations (MBE) formed just prior to the release of quarterly earnings, and tests alternative explanations for this reward. The evidence supports the claims that the MBE phenomenon has become more widespread in recent years and that the pattern by which MBE is obtained is consistent with both earnings management and expectation management. More importantly, the evidence shows that after controlling for the overall earnings performance in the quarter, firms that manage to meet or beat their earnings expectations enjoy an average quarterly return that is higher by almost 3% than their peers that fail to do so. While investors appear to discount MBE cases that are likely to result from expectation or earnings management, the premium in these cases is still significant. Finally, the results are consistent with an economic explanation for the premium placed on earnings surprises, namely that MBE are informative of the firm's future performance.
Keywords: Earnings expectations, analysts' forecasts, expectation management, earnings management, losses
JEL Classification: G14, G24, G29, M41, M43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation