Graziadio Working Paper Series


The Use of Earnings Forecasts in Stock Recommendations: Are Accurate Analysts More Consistent?

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We examine how analysts’ incentives to build their reputation through accurate forecasting changes the relative association between analyst recommendations and rigorous valuation models versus valuation heuristics. Controlling for the firm-specific difficulty of valuation, we show that the recommendations of the most accurate forecasters within each industry have a significantly higher correlation with rigorous valuation models and a significantly lower correlation with valuation heuristics than their less accurate peers. Our results are robust to potentially confounding firm-specific effects using a within-firm sample design, a changes analysis, and for short-term, long-term and combined measures of forecast accuracy. Consistent with reputation building, we find that the recommendations of “All-Star” analysts and accurate forecasters have similar associations on rigorous and heuristic valuation approaches. Our results are consistent with the incentive to build a good reputation mitigating the influence of factors other than identifying mispriced securities, using fundamental analysis, on stock recommendations.