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Soft information in earnings announcements: news or noise?

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  • Elizabeth Demers
  • Clara Vega

Abstract

This paper examines whether the "soft" information contained in the text of management's quarterly earnings press releases is incrementally informative over the company's reported "hard" earnings news. We use Diction, a textual-analysis program, to extract various dimensions of managerial net optimism from more than 20,000 corporate earnings announcements over the period 1998 to 2006 and document that unanticipated net optimism in managers' language affects announcement period abnormal returns and predicts post-earnings announcement drift. We find that it takes longer for the market to understand the implications of soft information than those of hard information. We also find that the market response varies by firm size, turnover, media and analyst coverage, and the extent to which the standard accounting model captures the underlying economics of the firm. We also show that the second moment of soft information, the level of certainty in the text, is an important determinant of contemporaneous idiosyncratic volatility, and it predicts future idiosyncratic volatility.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 951.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:951

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Related research

Keywords: Corporate profits ; Disclosure of information;

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Cited by:
  1. Nicky J. Ferguson & Jie Michael Guo & Nicky Herbert Y.T. Lam & Dennis Philip, 2011. "Media Sentiment and UK Stock Returns," Working Papers 2011_06, Durham University Business School.
  2. Price, S. McKay & Doran, James S. & Peterson, David R. & Bliss, Barbara A., 2012. "Earnings conference calls and stock returns: The incremental informativeness of textual tone," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 992-1011.
  3. Engelberg, Joseph E. & Reed, Adam V. & Ringgenberg, Matthew C., 2012. "How are shorts informed?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 260-278.
  4. Cho, Charles H. & Roberts, Robin W. & Patten, Dennis M., 2010. "The language of US corporate environmental disclosure," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 431-443, May.
  5. David O. Lucca & Francesco Trebbi, 2009. "Measuring Central Bank Communication: An Automated Approach with Application to FOMC Statements," NBER Working Papers 15367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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