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Playing Favorites: How Firms Prevent the Revelation of Bad News

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  • Lauren Cohen
  • Dong Lou
  • Christopher Malloy
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    Abstract

    We explore a subtle but important mechanism through which firms manipulate their information environments. We show that firms control information flow to the market through their specific organization and choreographing of earnings conference calls. Firms that “cast” their conference calls by disproportionately calling on bullish analysts tend to underperform in the future. Firms that call on more favorable analysts experience more negative future earnings surprises and more future earnings restatements. A long-short portfolio that exploits this differential firm behavior earns abnormal returns of up to 101 basis points per month. Further, firms that cast their calls have higher accruals leading up to call, barely exceed/meet earnings forecasts on the call that they cast, and in the quarter directly following their casting tend to issue equity and have significantly more insider selling.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19429.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19429

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    1. Michaely, Roni & Womack, Kent L, 1999. "Conflict of Interest and the Credibility of Underwriter Analyst Recommendations," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 12(4), pages 653-86.
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    13. Anup Agrawal & Sahiba Chadha & Mark A. Chen, 2006. "Who Is Afraid of Reg FD? The Behavior and Performance of Sell-Side Analysts Following the SEC's Fair Disclosure Rules," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(6), pages 2811-2834, November.
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