Information Content of Equity Analyst Reports

Paul Asquith, Michael B. Mikhail, Andrea S. Au

NBER Working Paper No. 9246
Issued in October 2002
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing, Corporate Finance

This paper investigates the market reaction to the information released in security analyst reports. It shows that the market reacts significantly and positively to changes in recommendation levels, earnings forecasts, and price targets. While changes in price targets and earnings forecasts both provide information to the market, revisions in price targets have a larger and more significant impact than comparable revisions in earnings forecasts. The text of the report is also a significant source of information as it provides the justifications supporting an analyst's summary opinion. When all of this information is considered simultaneously, some of it, notably the earnings forecasts, is subsumed. The results further show that analysts correctly predict price targets slightly over 50% of the time. Finally, the valuation methodology used does not seem to be correlated with either the market's reaction or the analyst's accuracy.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9246

Published: Asquith, Paul, Michael B. Mikhail and Andrea S. Au. "Information Content Of Equity Analyst Reports," Journal of Financial Economics, 2005, v75(2,Feb), 245-282.

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