The Usefulness of Negative Aggregate Earnings Changes in Predicting Future Gross Domestic Product Growth
43 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2015 Last revised: 3 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 1, 2017
Konchitchki and Patatoukas (2014) (hereafter KP 2014) show that aggregate accounting earnings growth predicts future nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and that professional macro forecasters do not fully incorporate the information contained in aggregate accounting earnings. Based on results from prior literature, which find that accounting earnings reflect bad economic news in a timelier manner than good news, we condition KP’s GDP growth forecast model on the sign of earnings changes. We show that negative changes in aggregate earnings predict future GDP growth, while positive changes in earnings do not. Furthermore, we show that professional macro forecasters underreact to the information contained in negative changes in aggregate earnings about future GDP growth. In additional analyses, we find evidence suggesting the incremental usefulness of negative earnings changes is driven by accounting conservatism rather than other drivers of asymmetric timeliness in earnings.
Keywords: Aggregate earnings, Gross domestic product (GDP), Asymmetric timeliness
JEL Classification: E00, E01, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation