This study provides evidence on market implied future earnings based on the residual income valuation (RIV) framework and compares these earnings with analyst earnings forecasts for accuracy (absolute forecast error) and bias (signed forecast error). Prior research shows that current stock price reflects future earnings and that analyst forecasts are biased. Thus, how price-based imputed forecasts compare with analyst forecasts is interesting. Using different cost of capital estimates, we use the price-earnings relation and impute firms’ future annual earnings from three residual income (RI) models for up to 5 years. Relative to I/B/E/S analyst forecasts, imputed forecasts from the RI models are less or no more biased when cost of capital is low (equal to a risk-free rate or slightly higher). Analysts slightly outperform these RI models in terms of accuracy for immediate future (1 or 2) years in the forecast horizon but the opposite is true for more distant future years when cost of capital is low. A regression analysis shows that, in explaining future earnings changes, analyst forecasts relative to imputed forecasts do not impound a significant amount of earnings information embedded in current price. In additional tests, we impute future long-term earnings growth rates and find that they are more accurate and less biased than I/B/E/S analyst long-term earnings growth forecasts. Together, the results suggest that the RIV framework can be used to impute a firm’s future earnings that are high in accuracy and low in bias, especially for distant future years.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 31, 2012
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