A Note on Analysts' Earnings Forecast Errors Distribution

Posted: 7 Jan 2004

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Abarbanell and Lehavy provide evidence that analysts' forecast errors are not normally distributed exhibiting a high occurrence of extreme negative forecast errors (left-tail asymmetry) and a high occurrence of small positive forecast errors (middle asymmetry). This is important for researchers who rely on techniques that are sensitive to the distributional assumptions of analysts' forecast errors. Many of the conclusions drawn by Abarbanell and Lehavy, however, are based on visual impressions (as opposed to formal empirical tests) or based on methods that are very sensitive to the empirical methods used (e.g., whether the serial correlation of forecast errors is caused by the left-tail asymmetry).

JEL Classification: G10, G29, M41, M43

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Daniel A. and Lys, Thomas Z., A Note on Analysts' Earnings Forecast Errors Distribution. Journal of Accounting & Economics, Vol. 36, No. 1-3, pp. 147-164, December 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=485124

Daniel A. Cohen

Texas A&M University College Station

Department of Accounting
College Station, TX 77843
United States

Thomas Z. Lys (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Department of Accounting & Information Systems
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-2673 (Phone)
847-467-1202 (Fax)

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