Do Conference Calls Affect Analysts' Forecasts?
Posted: 6 Feb 2002
In 1998, the SEC expressed concern that conference calls encourage selective disclosure by revealing new information to financial analysts privy to the call. This study investigates whether the regular use of earnings-related conference calls increases the amount of information available to financial analysts by examining the effect of conference calls on analysts' forecast error and dispersion. Results indicate that conference calls increase analysts' ability to forecast earnings accurately, suggesting that these calls increase the total information available about a firm. We also find some evidence that conference calls decrease dispersion among analysts. Given conference calls were generally restricted during our sample period, our evidence suggests that conference calls may have contributed to an information gap between analysts privy to the call and the remainder of the investment community.
We also investigate whether conference calls differentially affect analysts' forecast errors depending on analysts' prior forecasting ability or brokerage-house affiliation. We find evidence suggesting that analysts with relatively weak prior forecasting performance benefit more from conference calls, suggesting that conference calls help "level the playing field" across analysts.
Keywords: conference calls, security analysts, forecast error, forecast dispersion, disclosure, information environment, Reg FD
JEL Classification: M41, G12, G18, G29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation