The Role of Anchoring Bias in the Equity Market: Evidence from Analysts’ Earnings Forecasts and Stock Returns
53 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2007 Last revised: 22 Sep 2011
Date Written: July 1, 2010
“Anchoring” describes the fact that in forming numerical estimates of uncertain quantities, adjustments in assessments away from an arbitrary initial value are often insufficient. We show that this cognitive bias has significant economic consequences for the efficiency of financial markets. We find that analysts make optimistic (pessimistic) forecasts when a firm’s forecast earnings per share (FEPS) is lower (higher) than the industry median. Further, firms with FEPS greater (lower) than the industry median experience abnormally high (low) future stock returns, particularly around subsequent earnings announcement dates. Finally, split firms experience greater positive forecast revisions, larger forecast errors, and larger negative earnings surprises after a stock split compared to which did not split their stocks, especially for firms with a low FEPS relative to the industry median.
Keywords: Anchoring, Cognitive biases, Analysts’ earnings forecasts, Cross-sectional stock returns
JEL Classification: G12, G14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation