Management Earnings Forecast And Earnings Management: Does Prior-Period Forecast Accuracy Play A Role?

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Jing-Wen Yang

Keywords

Earnings Forecast, Earnings Management, Prior-Period Forecast Accuracy

Abstract

This study aims at examining 1) whether the market reacts differently in response to the same news, but based on different levels of accuracy from prior earnings forecasts; 2) whether managers tend to maintain or change their reputations for being optimistic or pessimistic in their forecasts; and 3) whether managers manage current earnings numbers in order to maintain or change their reputations for optimistic or pessimistic forecasting. Based on t-tests and the Wilcoxon rank-signed test, it was discovered that the market reacts more positively (negatively) on good (bad) news with a pessimistic (optimistic) prior earnings forecast. Further, when a firm is pessimistic in its forecasts, it tends to stay pessimistic, but when a firm has a reputation for optimistic forecasts, it does not appear to change that reputation. A firm with an optimistic prior forecast is more likely to manage earnings upwards by influencing one of the following: increasing total accruals, boosting inventory levels, or lowering discretionary expenses.

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