Corporate Disclosure: Facts or Opinions?
51 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2021
Date Written: November, 2021
A large body of literature documents the link between textual communication (e.g., news articles, earnings calls) and firm fundamentals, either through pre-defined “sentiment” dictionaries or through machine learning approaches. Surprisingly, little is known about why textual communication matters. In this paper, we take a step in that direction by developing a new methodology to automatically classify statements into objective (“facts”) and subjective (“opinions”) and apply it to transcripts of earnings calls. The large scale estimation suggests several novel results: (1) Facts and opinions are both prominent parts of corporate disclosure, taking up roughly equal parts, (2) higher prevalence of opinions is associated with investor disagreement, (3) anomaly returns are realized around the disclosure of opinions rather than facts, and (4) facts have a much stronger correlation with contemporaneous financial performance but facts and opinions have an equally strong association with financial results for the next quarter.
Keywords: Subjectivity, Machine Learning, NLP, Text Analysis
JEL Classification: C00, G12, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation