Do Analysts Say Anything About Earnings Without Revising Their Earnings Forecasts?
57 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 6, 2016
We identify a novel bias in analyst forecasts, after revision bias, which we identify by examining an analyst’s reports after his final earnings forecast of the quarter. We document that (i) qualitative predictions from the text of reports, (ii) share price target revisions, and (iii) revisions to next quarter’s earnings forecast predict error in the current quarter’s earnings forecast. Market returns are slow to impound the information in qualitative predictions and share price target revisions. Analysts are more likely to disseminate positive news after the current quarter’s final earnings forecast, consistent with analysts acting to maintain a beatable benchmark for managers. We argue our findings are consistent either with analysts acting to tip clients or with frictions limiting the frequency of quarterly forecast revisions. Our results demonstrate that the value of the current quarter’s earnings forecast to managers and investors distorts the flow of information into the forecast.
Keywords: sell-side analysts, analyst incentives, earnings forecasts, forecast bias
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