ABSTRACT Managers often explain their earnings forecasts by linking forecasted performance to their internal actions and the actions of parties external to the firm. These attributions potentially aid investors in the interpretation of management forecasts by confirming known relationships between attributions and profitability or by identifying additional causes that investors should consider when forecasting earnings. We investigate why managers choose to provide attributions with their forecasts and whether the attributions are related to security price reactions to management earnings forecasts. Using a sample of 951 management earnings forecasts issued from 1993 to 1996, we find that attributions are more likely for larger firms, less likely for firms in regulated industries, less likely for forecasts issued over longer horizons, more likely for bad news forecasts, and more likely for forecasts that are maximum type. Furthermore, attributions are associated with greater absolute price reactions to management forecasts, more negative price reactions to management forecasts (forecast news held constant), and a greater price reaction per dollar of unexpected earnings. Our findings hold after control for the aforementioned determinants of attributions and after control for other firm‐ and forecast‐specific variables that are often associated with security prices.
Journal of Accounting Research – Wiley
Published: Mar 1, 2004
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