This paper explores whether analyst forecasts impound the earnings management to avoid losses and small earnings decreases documented in Burgstahler and Dichev 1997, whether analysts are able to identify which specific firms engage in such earnings management, and the implications for significant forecast error anomalies at zero earnings and zero forecast earnings. We use data from Zacks Investment Research 1999 and find that analysts anticipate earnings management to avoid small losses and small earnings decreases. Further, analysts are much more likely to forecast zero earnings than firms are to realize zero earnings, and analysts are unable to consistently identify the specific firms that engage in earnings management to avoid small losses. This latter inability contributes to significant forecast pessimism associated with zero reported earnings and significant forecast optimism associated with zero earnings forecasts.
Contemporary Accounting Research – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2003
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