Contemporaneous verification of language: evidence from management earnings forecasts

Contemporaneous verification of language: evidence from management earnings forecasts Research documents that linguistic tone is incrementally informative about stock returns. What remains a puzzle is the mechanism by which investors can assess its credibility. We examine whether contemporaneous information in management earnings forecasts serves as a timely alternative to ex post verification. We document that ex post verifiable quantitative news in unbundled forecasts, and characteristics of the linguistic tone itself, affect investors’ pricing of tone. Consistent with higher quality signals enhancing the credibility of contemporaneous lower quality signals, we find that quantitative news verifies the associated linguistic tone; when the two signals have the same sign, the price effect of tone is stronger. Furthermore, the pricing attenuation of tone is increasing in the imprecision of the quantitative forecast, suggesting that lower forecast quality compromises the quantitative signal’s credibility enhancement. Managerial incentives to inflate tone lead to the verification effect being greater for optimistic language, while management’s use of hyperbole results in attenuation of the tone’s pricing. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Accounting Studies Springer Journals

Contemporaneous verification of language: evidence from management earnings forecasts

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Business and Management; Accounting/Auditing; Corporate Finance; Public Finance & Economics
ISSN
1380-6653
eISSN
1573-7136
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11142-015-9347-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Research documents that linguistic tone is incrementally informative about stock returns. What remains a puzzle is the mechanism by which investors can assess its credibility. We examine whether contemporaneous information in management earnings forecasts serves as a timely alternative to ex post verification. We document that ex post verifiable quantitative news in unbundled forecasts, and characteristics of the linguistic tone itself, affect investors’ pricing of tone. Consistent with higher quality signals enhancing the credibility of contemporaneous lower quality signals, we find that quantitative news verifies the associated linguistic tone; when the two signals have the same sign, the price effect of tone is stronger. Furthermore, the pricing attenuation of tone is increasing in the imprecision of the quantitative forecast, suggesting that lower forecast quality compromises the quantitative signal’s credibility enhancement. Managerial incentives to inflate tone lead to the verification effect being greater for optimistic language, while management’s use of hyperbole results in attenuation of the tone’s pricing.

Journal

Review of Accounting StudiesSpringer Journals

Published: Jan 9, 2016

References

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