Biases in Analysts' Multiyear Forecasted Income Statements, Balance Sheets, and Cash Flow Statements
48 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 15, 2017
We evaluate sell-side equity analysts’ multiyear forecasted income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements, and the profitability, efficiency and leverage ratios that they imply. Using both small- sample data extracted manually from Investext PDFs, and large-sample data taken from the I/B/E/S non-EPS archival detail history file, we find that analysts’ long-horizon financial statements contain many biases, many but not all of which are optimistic. Analysts make highly optimistic forecasts of long-horizon EPS, ROE, ROA, ROS and asset turnover, driven by overly bullish projections about revenues and all common-sized expenses except income tax, which they forecast pessimistically. Analysts are optimistic about both long-horizon operating cash flows and operating accruals, and while they are unbiased in their forecasts of long-horizon total assets, they underestimate long-horizon debt and overestimate long-horizon equity. Our regressions support the view that analysts strategically inflate their long-horizon forecasts of EPS the more intangible and hard-to-verify are the firm’s assets.
Keywords: Forecasted financial statements, multiyear, long-horizon, analysts, biases
JEL Classification: G17, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation