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A critical review on analysts' earnings forecasts.


Analysts' earnings forecasts are routinely employed as a predictor of future earnings in many stock valuation models and as a proxy for the market's earnings expectations in capital market-based accounting and finance research. The common practice is justified by superior accuracy of analysts' forecasts to predictions derived from time-series models of earnings and the market's positive responses to analysts' forecast revisions. However, analysts' forecasts do differ significantly from actual earnings (Dreman and Berry 1995) and the market's earnings expectations do not consistently follow analysts' forecasts (Hopwood and McKeown 1990; Walther 1997). While various types of empirical research Noun 1. empirical research - an empirical search for knowledge
inquiry, research, enquiry - a search for knowledge; "their pottery deserves more research than it has received"
 in accounting and finance have utilized analysts' forecasts, limitations of analysts' forecasts have not been well understood (Mikhail et al. 1999). Unlike prior literature reviews on analysts' earnings forecasts (e.g., Brown 1993; Givoly and Lakonishok 1984; Schipper 1991), this study draws together the results of some research on limitations of analysts' forecasts. It focuses on limited superiority of analysts' forecast accuracy, disconnection dis·con·nect  
v. dis·con·nect·ed, dis·con·nect·ing, dis·con·nects
1. To sever or interrupt the connection of or between: disconnected the hose.

 between analysts' and the market's expectations of earnings, and bias in analysts' forecasts. Understanding limitations of analysts' forecasts would improve the interpretation of empirical results that use analysts' forecasts.


It has been well established that analysts provide more accurate and precise earnings forecasts than time-series models of earnings. Table 1 shows that (unsigned unsigned

(of a letter etc.) anonymous

Adj. 1. unsigned - lacking a signature; "the message was typewritten and unsigned"
signed - having a handwritten signature; "a signed letter"
) forecast errors of Earnings Forecaster, Value Line, and I/B/E/S are consistently smaller than any time-series models. Analysts' superior predictive ability to time-series models is explained by timeliness of forecasts and broad information set. Analysts have a timing advantage in three ways: First, analysts can use more recent information, which becomes available after forecast initiation date of time-series models, but before analysts' initiation (Brown et al. 1987a; Fried and Givoly 1982). Second, analysts are able to respond to situations such as strikes or sudden swings in earnings, whereas time-series models are either unable to respond or slow to do so (Collins and Hopwood 1980). Third, analysts are relatively better than time-series models at distinguishing among permanent, transitory and price-irrelevant earnings shocks (Ramakrshnan and Thomas, 1998). After eliminating the timing advantage, the superior accuracy of analysts' forecasts over time-series predictions still exists because analysts presumably pre·sum·a·ble  
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster.
 utilize all available information that includes non-accounting information on firms, industry and general economy, while time-series models rely exclusively on past earnings (Brown et al. 1987a; Fried and Givoly 1982).

Paradoxically par·a·dox  
1. A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true: the paradox that standing is more tiring than walking.

, these advantages limit individual analysts' forecast accuracy. Table 2 categorizes prior studies' results on limitations of analysts' forecast accuracy into forecast timing and available information set. These empirical results form the following model:

v. re·pro·duced, re·pro·duc·ing, re·pro·duc·es
1. To produce a counterpart, image, or copy of.

2. Biology To generate (offspring) by sexual or asexual means.
 IN ASCII ASCII or American Standard Code for Information Interchange, a set of codes used to represent letters, numbers, a few symbols, and control characters. Originally designed for teletype operations, it has found wide application in computers. ]

First, analysts' forecast accuracy (ACCURACY) declines with the length of forecast horizon (HORIZON), but increases with forecast recency (RECENCY) and frequency (FREQUENCY) because the latest earnings-relevant information can be incorporated in forecasts. Brown (1991), Mozes and Wiliams (1999), and O'Brien (1988) show that the most current clusters of analysts' forecasts are more accurate than contemporaneous con·tem·po·ra·ne·ous  
Originating, existing, or happening during the same period of time: the contemporaneous reigns of two monarchs. See Synonyms at contemporary.
 consensus of analysts' forecasts. Second, firm size and analyst coverage (the number of analysts following a firm) have a positive effect on availability of information (Barth and Hutton 2001; Bhattacharya 2001; Hong et al. 2000) and thus analysts' forecasts are more accurate for firms with larger size (SIZE) and higher analyst coverage (COVERAGE). Brokerage firms' size (BROKERAGE) also have a positive impact on analysts' forecast accuracy because large brokerage firms provide superior resources (Clement Clement, in the Bible
Clement, in Philippians, one of Paul's coworkers. He is traditionally identified with St. Clement of Rome, the likely author of a letter written from there to the Corinthian church in c.A.D. 96.
 1999), better research networks (Stickel 1995), and closer relationships with management of companies (Jacob et al. 1999).

Less experience and task complexity are likely to limit analysts' forecast accuracy. Prior studies, however, report mixed empirical results. Clement (1999) and Mikhail et al. (1997) provide evidence that more experienced analysts provide more accurate forecasts than less experienced analysts, but Jacob et al. (1999) show that there is no significant influence of experience on forecast accuracy when specific analyst-company alignments are controlled. Jacob et al. (1999) attribute the positive association between analysts' experience and forecast accuracy to survival bias because more capable analysts survive longer, thus they are over-represented among the observations with high values of experience. Analysts' task complexity has been measured either by the number of firms followed by an analyst or by the extent to which an analyst concentrates his forecasting in an industry. Consistent with the general expectations, absolute forecast errors are positively related with the number of firms followed by an analyst. However, the relation of forecast accuracy with analysts' industry concentration is mixed. For instance, Mikhail et al. (1997) find little support for a relation between forecast accuracy and industry concentration that is defined as the proportion of firms in same industry among the total number of firms followed by an analyst, but Jacob et al. (1999) find a negative coefficient coefficient /co·ef·fi·cient/ (ko?ah-fish´int)
1. an expression of the change or effect produced by variation in certain factors, or of the ratio between two different quantities.

 for the variable of industry concentration in the regression of forecast errors, using the definition of Mikhail et al. (1997).

Another potential limitation of analysts' forecast accuracy is caused by analysts' herding herding

1. natural congregation of animals into groups; see also flocking.

2. management of animals into large groups or herds by humans to facilitate animal husbandry procedures.
 behavior. DeBondt and Forbes (1999), Hong et al. (2000), and Trueman (1994) provide evidence of the reputation-based herding theory that career-concerning analysts herd toward consensus forecasts. Therefore, followers in time provide more accurate forecasts than leaders, but followers are more likely to herd on the consensus or the predecessor's forecasts (Shroff n. 1. A banker, or changer of money.  et al. 2003). However, Bernhardt et al. (2002) and Zitzewitz (2001) document that analysts do not herd as is often assumed, but rather they exaggerate their differences with the consensus forecasts. Analysts' herding behavior that has impact on forecast accuracy is an issue for future research on the limitation of analysts' forecast accuracy.


Since analysts provide more accurate forecasts than do time-series models, analysts' forecasts are expected to be a more precise surrogate surrogate n. 1) a person acting on behalf of another or a substitute, including a woman who gives birth to a baby of a mother who is unable to carry the child. 2) a judge in some states (notably New York) responsible only for probates, estates, and adoptions.  for the market's expectations of earnings (Brown et al. 1987b; Fried and Givoly 1982). However, prior studies' empirical results indicate that the market's earnings expectations do not consistently follow analysts' forecasts. For instance, analysts' forecast errors have a higher association with abnormal stock returns than the random walk model's forecast errors (Wiedman 1996), but a lower association than the quarterly autoregressive model's forecast errors (O'Brien 1988). Hughes and Ricks (1987) show that analysts' forecast errors are significantly associated with abnormal stock returns, but do not outperform Outperform

An analyst recommendation meaning a stock is expected to do slightly better than the market return.

Exact definitions vary by brokerage, but in general this rating is better than neutral and worse than buy or strong buy.
 time-series models as a proxy for unexpected earnings. This anomalous a·nom·a·lous  
1. Deviating from the normal or common order, form, or rule.

2. Equivocal, as in classification or nature.
 relation of analysts' forecasts with stock returns suggests analysts' inefficiency in incorporating available information and/or investors' failure in impounding im·pound  
tr.v. im·pound·ed, im·pound·ing, im·pounds
1. To confine in or as if in a pound: capture and impound stray dogs.

 some portion of the value-relevant information in analysts' forecasts.

There is mounting evidence of the analysts' inefficiency. First, analysts do not fully incorporate past information available at the time of their forecasts. For example, analysts are not likely to fully use past forecast errors (Givoly 1985), past stock returns (Abarbanell 1991), past earnings (Ali et al. 1992, Mikhail et al. 2003), and past accruals Accruals

Accounts on a balance sheet that represent liabilities and non-cash-based assets used in accrual-based accounting. These accounts include, among many others, accounts payable, accounts receivable, goodwill, future tax liability and future interest expense.
 (Bradshaw and Richardson 2001). Second, analysts have tendency to interpret information in a manner of bias. For instance, they systematically underreact un·der·re·act  
intr.v. un·der·re·act·ed, un·der·re·act·ing, un·der·re·acts
To react with insufficient enthusiasm, force, or emphasis.

 (Abarbanell 1991; Abarbanell and Bernard 1992; Elliot et al. 1995; Lys and Sohn 1990; Teoh et al. 1998) or overreact o·ver·re·act
To react with unnecessary or inappropriate force, emotional display, or violence.
 (DeBont and Thaler THALER. The name of a coin. The thaler of Prussia and of the northern states of Germany is deemed as money of account, at the custom-house, to be of the value of sixty-nine cents. Act of May 22, 1846.
 1990) to new information. More specifically, evidence in Easterwood and Nutt (1999) shows that analysts underreact to negative information, but overreact to positive information. Kim et al. (2001) analytically an·a·lyt·ic   or an·a·lyt·i·cal
1. Of or relating to analysis or analytics.

2. Dividing into elemental parts or basic principles.

 show that analysts' consensus forecasts inefficiently aggregate information by assigning too much weight to analysts' common information relative to their private information. Third, analysts are likely to mispredict earnings when a firm reports a loss. Benesh and Peterson (1986) and Clayman and Schwartz (1994) find that analysts are much more likely to get the sign of the earnings number wrong when a firm reports a loss. Degeorge et al. (1999) also suggest that the distribution of analysts' forecast errors for losses is much greater than for profits. Finally, the complexity of information contributes to the failure of analysts to properly interpret the information when forecasting earnings. Chen et al. (2002) provide evidence of analysts' failure to distinguish between permanent and transitory effects of deferred tax adjustment. To interpret this adjustment correctly, analysts need to understand the unique and complex nature of this transaction, such as accounting rules for deferred tax assets as well as certain portions of SFAS SFAS Statement of Financial Accounting Standards
SFAS Special Forces Assessment and Selection
SFAS Student Financial Aid Services
SFAS Sport Fishing Association of Singapore
SFAS Safety Features Actuation System
SFAS Statewide Fixed Assets System

As a number of studies suggest that investors fail to fully assimilate as·sim·i·late
1. To consume and incorporate nutrients into the body after digestion.

2. To transform food into living tissue by the process of anabolism.
 publicly available value-relevant information in forming earnings (e.g., Ball and Bartov 1996; Bernard et al. 1997; Bernard and Thomas 1990; Freeman and Tse 1989; Rendleman et al. 1987), Elgers et al. (2001), Givoly and Lakonishok (1979), Mendenhall (1991), Shane and Brous (2001) and Stickel (1991) provide evidence of investors' underreliance on analysts' forecasts. For instance, Walther (1997) find that investors place more weight on analyst forecasts and less weight on time-series predictions as investors' sophistication so·phis·ti·cate  
v. so·phis·ti·cat·ed, so·phis·ti·cat·ing, so·phis·ti·cates
1. To cause to become less natural, especially to make less naive and more worldly.


Overall, prior studies indicate disconnection between analysts' and the market's earnings expectations, contrary to widespread use of analysts' forecasts as a proxy for the market's expectations of earnings. An alternative explanation for the contradictory finding is the analysts' inefficiency in processing value-relevant information. However, prior studies have not yet full modeled how analysts process information. This unresolved Not completed; not finished; not linked together. See resolve.  question that is essential to understand properties of analysts' forecasts makes this research area lively and rewarding for both theoreticians and empiricists interested in the operation of the analyst industry, the formation of investors' expectations and the interaction between accounting numbers and stock returns (Amir and Sougiannis 1999).


Absolute forecast errors may be larger for firms which are hard to predict, but analysts should err equally in both direction (under- and overestimates of future earnings) if they reveal their expectations in an unbiased manner (Das et al. 1998; Sougiannis and Yaekura 2001). However, numerous studies have confirmed analysts' optimistic op·ti·mist  
1. One who usually expects a favorable outcome.

2. A believer in philosophical optimism.

 bias (i.e., overestimates of future earnings) since it was reported more than 20 years ago (Barefield and Comiskey 1975; McDonald 1973). Table 3 shows research designs and findings of studies on analysts' forecast bias.

Prior studies provide three plausible explanations why analysts' forecasts are systematically optimistic. First, analysts have the incentive to maintain good relations with management because management is the most important source of non-public information. Moreover, management penalizes analysts based upon the content of their forecasts by limiting or cutting off analysts' future contact with management who disclose pessimistic pes·si·mism  
1. A tendency to stress the negative or unfavorable or to take the gloomiest possible view: "We have seen too much defeatism, too much pessimism, too much of a negative approach" 
 earnings predictions. Therefore, analysts are likely to report optimistic predictions to cultivate cul·ti·vate  
tr.v. cul·ti·vat·ed, cul·ti·vat·ing, cul·ti·vates
a. To improve and prepare (land), as by plowing or fertilizing, for raising crops; till.

 relations with management. Empirical and analytical studies consistently support this management relation hypothesis. For example, Francis and Philbrick (1993) contend that a less favorable fa·vor·a·ble  
1. Advantageous; helpful: favorable winds.

2. Encouraging; propitious: a favorable diagnosis.

 stock recommendation creates an incentive for the analyst to report optimistic forecasts because analysts wish to counter negative effects on their relations with management generated by an unfavorable stock recommendation. Das et al. (1998) posit that analysts more overstate earnings for firms that are hard to predict using publicly available information because optimism facilitates access to management's non-public information. Lim (2001) analytically proves that analysts trade off optimistic forecast bias to improve management access and forecast accuracy. However, the management relations hypothesis fails to consider the fact that managers may be displeased dis·please  
v. dis·pleased, dis·pleas·ing, dis·pleas·es
To cause annoyance or vexation to.

To cause annoyance or displeasure.
 with optimistic forecasts because they have incentives to avoid negative earnings surprises (Burgstahler and Eames 2000). Matsumoto (1999) presents evidence consistent with management's preference for pessimistic forecasts to avoid negative earnings surprises. Numerous articles in the popular financial press (e.g., Ip 1997a,b; McGee 1997) reiterate that optimistic forecasts are not an effective way to curry management favor (Eames et al. 2002).

Second, compensation is an important economic incentive motivating sell-side analysts to issue optimistic forecasts. Brokerage or investment-banking firms may compensate analysts for their research service to stimulate brokerage commissions or securities-issue commissions. Thus, sell-side analysts have incentives to boost trade for their brokerage firms (trade-boosting incentive) and to favorably fa·vor·a·ble  
1. Advantageous; helpful: favorable winds.

2. Encouraging; propitious: a favorable diagnosis.

 evaluate investment-banking client companies (investment-banking incentive). Kim and Lustgarten (1998) and Eames et al. (2002) test analysts' trade-boosting incentive. Kim and Lustgarten (1998) indicate that broker-analysts (Multex Investment Inc. analysts) are likely to report more (or less) optimistic earnings forecasts for buy (or sell) recommendations than non-broker analysts (Standard and Poor's and Value Line analysts). Eames et al. (2002) show that broker-analysts' earnings forecasts (34,612 annual forecasts for 1988-96 from Zacks) are significantly optimistic for buy recommendations and significantly pessimistic for sell recommendations. On the other hand, Lin and McNichols (1993) and Dechow et al. (1997) investigate analysts' investment-banking incentive. They consistently find that affiliated analysts who work for an investment-banking firm report more optimistic earnings forecasts for investment-banking clients than do unaffiliated analysts. For example, Lin and McNichols (1993) report that affiliated analysts' five-year earnings growth rate forecasts (21.29% of price) are significantly more favorable than those (20.73% of price) made by unaffiliated analysts. Dechow et al. (1997) document that analysts issue more optimistic forecasts for firms which are underwriting Underwriting

1. The process by which investment bankers raise investment capital from investors on behalf of corporations and governments that are issuing securities (both equity and debt).

2. The process of issuing insurance policies.

Third, several studies attempt to explain analysts' optimism by the cognitive bias A cognitive bias is any of a wide range of observer effects identified in cognitive science and social psychology including very basic statistical, social attribution, and memory errors that are common to all human beings. , statistical and memory errors that are common to all human beings. For instance, Easterwood and Nutt (1999) document that analysts overreact to positive information, but underreact to negative information. Elton et al. (1984) also show that analysts have a marked tendency to overestimate o·ver·es·ti·mate  
tr.v. o·ver·es·ti·mat·ed, o·ver·es·ti·mat·ing, o·ver·es·ti·mates
1. To estimate too highly.

2. To esteem too greatly.
 the growth rates Growth Rates

The compounded annualized rate of growth of a company's revenues, earnings, dividends, or other figures.

Remember, historically high growth rates don't always mean a high rate of growth looking into the future.
 of securities they believed will perform well and to underestimate the growth rate of companies they believed will perform poorly. Moreover, analysts are likely to add firms they view favorably and drop firms they view unfavorably in their forecast announcements (i.e., selection bias) so that unfavorable forecasts are withheld (Affeck-Graves et al. 1990; McNichols and O'Brien 1997).

Existing empirical studies Empirical studies in social sciences are when the research ends are based on evidence and not just theory. This is done to comply with the scientific method that asserts the objective discovery of knowledge based on verifiable facts of evidence.  report the effect of earnings sign, firm size, analyst coverage, and forecast horizon on analysts' forecast bias. Ali et al. (1992), Brown (1998) Dowen (1996) and Hwang et al. (1996) document that analysts are more optimistic in forecasting earnings for firms whose actual earnings are losses. For example, Hwang et al. (1996) report that the optimistic bias in analysts' forecasts is ten times greater when firms report losses. Brown (1998) shows a dramatic difference of optimistic bias between firms reporting profits and losses on a sample of I/B/E/S for 1984-96; an optimistic bias of 11.7 cents exists when firms report losses, while a pessimistic bias of 2.3 cents exists when firms report profits. The difference in forecast bias between profit and loss firms is attributed to managers' incentives. When managers report profits, they try to meet or slightly beat analysts' forecasts. If managers are unable to report profits that meet or slightly beat analysts' forecasts, they may manipulate accruals in order to report small positive earnings surprises and to avoid small negative earnings surprises (Degeorge et al. 1999; Eames and Burgstahler 2003). Consequently, analysts' forecasts of firms that report profits are likely to be slightly underestimated than actual earnings. On the other hand, managers are unconcerned about meeting analysts' forecasts when they report losses. Instead, they may undertake actions to enhance future earnings, possibly taking a big bath that increases expenses and losses in the current period and reduces expenses and losses in subsequent periods. If managers fail to forewarn fore·warn  
tr.v. fore·warned, fore·warn·ing, fore·warns
To warn in advance.


to warn beforehand

Verb 1.
 analysts that they are about to report a loss, analysts are likely to get the sign of the earnings number wrong. Moreover, if managers do not forewarn analysts that they are about to take a big bath, analysts' forecasts are extremely overestimated. Thus, loss firms' forecasts are shown as being large optimistic.

Small firms have relatively more optimistic bias because they are much more (nearly 10 times as) likely to report losses and/or their managers are less likely to manage profits (Brown 1998; Lim 1998). For example, Lim (1998) find that optimistic bias is considerably higher at 2.5% of price for small firms versus 0.53% of price for large firms. Analyst coverage and forecast horizon have negative impact on the magnitude of analysts' optimistic bias. Brown (1997, 1998) and Das et al. (1998) show that firms followed by few analysts have relatively more optimistic bias. Richardson et al. (1999) report that the optimistic bias declines dramatically, from 0.91% of price to 0.09% of price, as the forecast horizon is shortened from one year to one month,

The optimism of analysts' forecasts appears to be waning in recent years. Brown (1997, 1998) show that the optimistic bias in analysts' forecasts has been mitigated over time. His annual analysis on I/B/E/S reveals a range of optimistic bias from 3.35 cents per share Cents per share

The amount of a mutual fund's dividend or capital gains distributions that a shareholder will receive for each share owned.
 in 1985 to 0.30 cents per share in 1997. Richardson et al. (2001) provide evidence of a switch from upward-biased to downward-biased annual forecasts as the earnings announcement date approaches. Consistent with Brown (1997, 1998), this effect is strongest in the post-1992 years and especially in 1997. Gu and Wu (2000) suggest that such forecast pessimism pessimism, philosophical opinion or doctrine that evil predominates over good; the opposite of optimism. Systematic forms of pessimism may be found in philosophy and religion.  is a natural result of positive earnings skewness Skewness

A statistical term used to describe a situation's asymmetry in relation to a normal distribution.

A positive skew describes a distribution favoring the right tail, whereas a negative skew describes a distribution favoring the left tail.
 because analysts strive to minimize mean absolute forecast error.


Analysts' earnings forecasts have been used extensively as a predictor of future earnings and a proxy for the market's expectations of earnings. The superior accuracy of analysts' forecasts to predictions derived from time-series models of earnings justifies this common practice in empirical studies in accounting and finance. However, analysts' forecast accuracy is limited by forecast timing (i.e., forecast horizon, recency, and frequency) and available information set (i.e., firm size, analyst coverage, and brokerage size). Also, analysts' forecasts do not consistently generate measures of earnings surprise that are more highly associated with contemporaneous stock returns, suggesting that analysts' forecasts are not necessarily better representations of the market's earnings expectations than are time-series predictions. The disconnection between analysts' and the market's expectations of earnings is reconciled by analysts' inefficiency in incorporating available information and investors' failure in impounding some portion of the value-relevant information in analysts' forecasts. Another limitation of analysts' earnings forecasts is analysts' optimism in forecasting future earnings although the optimistic bias is waning in recent years. The findings in this study indicate the need for further research in several areas: the relation of analysts' herding behavior on forecast accuracy, how analysts process information to produce forecasts, and a structural shift toward forecast pessimism in recent years.


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Legal documents certifying the right to employment of a minor or alien.

Noun 1. working papers
, University of Illinois University of Illinois may refer to:
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (flagship campus)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • University of Illinois at Springfield
  • University of Illinois system
It can also refer to:

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Georgia State University was founded in 1913 as the Georgia School of Technology's "School of Commerce." The school focused on what was called "the new science of business.

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n. 1. One whose trade it is to make or sell gloves.
Glover's suture
a kind of stitch used in sewing up wounds, in which the thread is drawn alternately through each side from within outward.
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A security analysis that uses financial information derived from company annual reports and income statements to evaluate an investment decision.

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Hong, H., T. Lim, and J. Stein Stein , William Howard 1911-1980.

American biochemist. He shared a 1972 Nobel Prize for pioneering studies of ribonuclease.
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Do-Jin Jung, West Texas A&M University
Table 1: Analysts' Superior Forecast Accuracy

              Databases                Time-series Models

Studies      EF   VL   IB   NA   MA   MT   BJ   BR   GW   FO   IN   RW

et al.
(1978)       X              X    X

Brown &
(1978)            X                   X    X

Brown &
(1980)            X         X              X    X

Collins &
(1980)            X                             X    X    X

Fried &
(1982)       X                   X                             X

et al.
(1987a)           X                             X    X    X

et al.
(1987c)           X    X                                            X

(1988)                 X                                  X

                                   Forecast Errors
Studies      Period    [absolute  [(F-A).sup.2]  [absolute  [(VT/VA).
                       value of                   value of   sup.2]
                       (F-A)]                     (F-A)/A]

et al.
(1978)       1967-76                 X

Brown &
(1978)       1972-75                               X

Brown &
(1980)       1973-76                               X

Collins &
(1980)       1951-70                               X

Fried &
(1982)       1969-79                               X

et al.
(1987a)      1975-80                               X

et al.
(1987c)      1977-82                                           X

(1988)       1975-82     X           X

These studies consistently provide evidence that analysts' earnings
forecast errors are smaller than predictions derived from time-series
models of earnings.

Forecast Databases: (EF) Earnings Forecaster published by Standard
and Poor's, (VL) Value Line, (IB) I/B/E/S.

Time-series Models: (NA) Naive model, (MA) Moving Average model, (MT)
Martingale model, (BJ) Box-Jenkins (1970) model, (BR) Brown-Rozeff
(1979) model, (GW) Griffin (1977)-Watts (1975) model, (FO) Foster
(1977) model, (IN) Index model, (RW) Random Walk model.

Forecast Errors: (F) Forecasts of Earnings, (A) Actual Earnings, (VT)
Variance of Time-Series Models' Forecast Errors, (VA)

Variance of Analysts' Forecast Errors.

Table 2: Limitations of Analyst Forecast Accuracy

Studies                      Forecast       Sample      Forecast Error
                             Database       Period

Crichfield et al. (1978)     Earnings      1967-76       [(F-A).sup.2]
Imhoff & Pare (1982)         Earnings      1971-74      [absolute value
                                                         of A-F]
                            Forecaster                  [absolute value
                                                         of (A-F)/A]
                                                        [absolute value
                                                         of (A-F)/F]

Brown et al. (1987c)        Value Line     1977-82      [(VT/VA).sup.2]

O'Brien (1990)               I/B/E/S       1975-81      [absolute value
                                                         of A-F]

Butler & Lang (1991)         I/B/E/S       1983-86       (|F-A|-M|)/P

Stickel (1992)                Zacks        1981-85       [absolute
                                                         value of A-F]

Sinha et al. (1997)          I/B/E/S       1984-93       [absolute
                                                         value of A-F]

Mikhail et al. (1997)         Zacks        1980-95       [absolute
                                                         value of

Clement (1999)                 IBES        1983-94        (|A-F|-M)/M

Jacob et al. (1999)           Zacks        1981-92          |A-F|/M

                               Association with Forecast Accuracy

Studies                      Forecast      Forecast        Forecast
                             Horizon      Frequency         Recency

Crichfield et al. (1978)        --
Imhoff & Pare (1982)            --
Brown et al. (1987c)            --
O'Brien (1990)                  --
Butler & Lang (1991)
Stickel (1992)                  --            --
Sinha et al. (1997)                           --              --
Mikhail et al. (1997)                                         --
Clement (1999)
Jacob et al. (1999)                           --

                               Association with Forecast Accuracy

Studies                      FirmSize      Analyst         Brokerage
                                           Coverage          Size

Crichfield et al. (1978)
Imhoff & Pare (1982)
Brown et al. (1987c)            --
O'Brien (1990)
Butler & Lang (1991)
Stickel (1992)
Sinha et al. (1997)
Mikhail et al. (1997)                         --
Clement (1999)                                                --
Jacob et al. (1999)                                           --

                               Association with Forecast Accuracy

Studies                      Analyst         Task          Industry
                            Experience    Complexity     Concentration

Crichfield et al. (1978)
Imhoff & Pare (1982)
Brown et al. (1987c)
O'Brien (1990)
Butler & Lang (1991)
Stickel (1992)
Sinha et al. (1997)
Mikhail et al. (1997)           --                            no
Clement (1999)                  --            --
Jacob et al. (1999)             no            --              --

Table 3: Bias in Analysts' Earnings Forecasts

Studies          Forecast      Sample (Time Period)        Bias Test
                 Databases                                   Models

McDonald         Wall Street   201 forecasts for 152        (A-F)/F
(1973)           Journal       firms (1966-70)

Barefield &      Earnings      100 firms on NYSE            (F-A)/F
Comiskey         Forecaster    (1967-72)

Crichfield       Earnings      130 forecasts for 46       A = [alpha]
et al. (1978)    Forecaster    firms (1967-76)              + [beta]
                                                             F + e

Fried & Givoly   Earnings      1,247 firm-years with       (A-F)/
(1982)           Forecaster    6,020 forecasts for 424    [absolute
                               firms on NYSE (1969-79)    value of A]

Givoly (1985)    Earnings      1,247 firm-years with      A = [alpha]
                 Forecaster    6,020 forecasts for 424      + [beta]
                               firms on NYSE (1969-79)       F + e

O'Brien (1988)   I/B/E/S       184 firms with 1,260          (A-F)
                               firm-years (1975-82)

Abarbanell       Value Line    1370 forecasts for 100        (F-A)
(1991)                         firms (1981-84)

Ali et al.       I/B/E/S       5,365 Firm-Years              A-F/P
(1992)                         (1978-89)

Francis &        Value Line    918 annual and first       (A-F)/P(orF)
Philbrick                      quarter forecasts
(1993)                         (1987-89)

Kang et al.      Value Line    132 firms with 6,538       A = [alpha]
(1994)                         forecasts (1980-85)          + [beta]
                                                             F + e

Das et al.       Value Line    1,195 firm-year with         (A-F)/P
(1998)                         239 firms (1989-93)

Easterwood &     I/B/E/S       10,694 firm-year with        (A-F)/P
Nutt (1999)                    1,608 firms (1982-95)

Richardson et    I/B/E/S       25,623 firm-year with        (A-F)/P
al. (2001)                     681,413 forecasts

Studies          Findings

McDonald         The mean of the relative forecast errors
(1973)           is -13.6%. The number of overpredictions is
                 65.3% of the total forecasts.

Barefield &      Earnings forecasts exceeding actual earnings
Comiskey         are approximately 64.9% of the total
(1975)           forecasts.

Crichfield       [alpha] and [beta] are not significantly
et al. (1978)    different from zero and one, respectively, at
                 the .10 level.

Fried & Givoly   Analysts' forecast bias is present only in 6 of
(1982)           the 11 years and appears to be quite small,
                 except for the first three years. The mean of
                 the relative forecast errors is -5.3%,
                 indicating some tendency for analysts to
                 overestimate next year's earnings.

Givoly (1985)    [alpha] (-.023) and [beta] (1.009) are very close
                 to 0 and 1. The mean of the relative forecast
                 errors is 1.2% and insignificant.

O'Brien (1988)   The mean of the forecast errors exhibit
                 significantly negative bias, but the median is
                 indistinguishable from zero.

Abarbanell       The mean of the relative forecast errors is
(1991)           $.04 and significant at

Ali et al.       Both long-term (eight-month) and short-term
(1992)           (one-month) forecasts are, on average,
                 upwardly biased.

Francis &        The mean of the relative forecast errors
Philbrick        is--$.18 per share and -9.0% of the EPS
(1993)           forecasts, significantly less than zero at the
                 .01 level.

Kang et al.      F-statistics under OLS and
(1994)           [chi square]-statistics under GMM reject the
                 null hypothesis of no bias at the .01 level.

Das et al.       The mean of the relative forecast errors is
(1998)           significantly negative (from -1.5% to -3.5%)
                 over all four horizons.

Easterwood &     The mean (median) of the relative forecast
Nutt (1999)      errors is -1.93% (-.32%) and significant.

Richardson et    The mean (median) of the relative forecast
al. (2001)       errors is -.90% (.28%) and significant.

(A) Actual Earnings, (F) Forecasts of Earnings, (P): Stock Prices.
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Date:Jan 1, 2005
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