A re-examination of analysts’ superiority over time-series forecasts of annual earnings

A re-examination of analysts’ superiority over time-series forecasts of annual earnings We re-examine the widely held belief that analysts’ earnings per share (EPS) forecasts are superior to random walk (RW) time-series forecasts. We investigate whether analysts’ annual EPS forecasts are superior, and if so, under what conditions. Simple RW EPS forecasts are more accurate than analysts’ forecasts over longer horizons, for smaller or younger firms, and when analysts forecast negative or large changes in EPS. We also compare the accuracy of a third forecast of longer-term earnings based on a naïve extrapolation of analysts’ 1-year-ahead forecasts. Surprisingly, this naïve extrapolation provides the most accurate estimate of long-term (2- and 3-year-ahead) earnings. These findings recharacterize prior generalizations about the superiority of analysts’ forecasts and suggest that they are incomplete, misleading, or both. Moreover, in certain settings, researchers can rely on forecasts other than these explicit forecasts. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Accounting Studies Springer Journals

A re-examination of analysts’ superiority over time-series forecasts of annual earnings

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Business and Management; Accounting/Auditing; Corporate Finance; Public Finance
ISSN
1380-6653
eISSN
1573-7136
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11142-012-9185-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We re-examine the widely held belief that analysts’ earnings per share (EPS) forecasts are superior to random walk (RW) time-series forecasts. We investigate whether analysts’ annual EPS forecasts are superior, and if so, under what conditions. Simple RW EPS forecasts are more accurate than analysts’ forecasts over longer horizons, for smaller or younger firms, and when analysts forecast negative or large changes in EPS. We also compare the accuracy of a third forecast of longer-term earnings based on a naïve extrapolation of analysts’ 1-year-ahead forecasts. Surprisingly, this naïve extrapolation provides the most accurate estimate of long-term (2- and 3-year-ahead) earnings. These findings recharacterize prior generalizations about the superiority of analysts’ forecasts and suggest that they are incomplete, misleading, or both. Moreover, in certain settings, researchers can rely on forecasts other than these explicit forecasts.

Journal

Review of Accounting StudiesSpringer Journals

Published: Feb 14, 2012

References

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