Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Analyst Forecasts: It Pays to Be Off!

HILARY Gilles, HSU Charles
Read the working paper
INSEAD Working Paper 2013/92/AC

We show that analysts who display more consistent forecast errors have a greater effect on stock prices than analysts who provide more accurate but less consistent forecasts. This result leads to three implications. First, consistent analysts are less likely to be demoted to a less prestigious brokerage house and are more likely to be named All Star analysts. Second, analysts strategically "lowball" (that is, deliver downward-biased forecasts) to increase their consistency. This is because lowballing gives management an easier target to beat and, in turn, management grants analysts greater access to company information. Finally, the benefits of both consistency and lowballing increase while those of accuracy decrease when institutional/sophisticated investors are more of a presence in the analyst’s audience.