Existence and Exploitability of Financial Analysts' Informational Leadership
AbstractThis paper bridges two recent studies on the role of analysts to provide new and relevant information to investors. On the one hand, the contribution of analysts to long-term price discovery on the US market is rather low. Considering earnings per share forecasts as the main output of analysts’ reports, their information share amounts to only 4.6% on average. On the other hand, trading strategies set up on these EPS forecasts are quite profitable. Self-financing portfolios yield excess returns of more than 5% over the S&P 100 index for a time period of 36 years, which is persistent after controlling for the well-known risk factors. In this paper, we discuss the link between the low information shares and the high abnormal returns. We argue that information shares of analysts cannot be higher, because otherwise their forecasts would lead to excessively profitable trading strategies which are very unlikely to persist over such a long period of time.
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