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Implications of Cost Behavior for Analysts’ Earnings Forecasts


  • Mustafa Ciftci
  • Raj Mashruwala
  • Dan Weiss


Recent work in management accounting offers several novel insights into firms’ cost behavior. This study explores whether financial analysts appropriately incorporate information on two types of cost behavior in predicting earnings - cost variability and cost stickiness. Since analysts’ utilization of information is not directly observable, we model the process of earnings prediction to generate empirically testable hypotheses. The results indicate that analysts “converge to the average” in recognizing both cost variability and cost stickiness, resulting in substantial and systematic earnings forecast errors. Particularly, we find a clear pattern - inappropriate incorporation of available information on cost behavior in earnings forecasts leads to larger errors in unfavorable scenarios than in favorable ones. Overall, enhancing analysts’ awareness of the expense side is likely to improve their earnings forecasts, mainly when sales turn to the worse.

Suggested Citation

  • Mustafa Ciftci & Raj Mashruwala & Dan Weiss, "undated". "Implications of Cost Behavior for Analysts’ Earnings Forecasts," Accounting Working Papers 17-03/2014, School of Business Administration, American University of Sharjah.
  • Handle: RePEc:sha:accwps:17-03/2014

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Firth & Chen Lin & Ping Liu & Yuhai Xuan, 2013. "The Client Is King: Do Mutual Fund Relationships Bias Analyst Recommendations?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 165-200, March.
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    5. Gu, Zhaoyang & Wu, Joanna Shuang, 2003. "Earnings skewness and analyst forecast bias," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 5-29, April.
    6. Mikhail, Michael B. & Walther, Beverly R. & Willis, Richard H., 2003. "The effect of experience on security analyst underreaction," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 101-116, April.
    7. Degeorge, Francois & Patel, Jayendu & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Earnings Management to Exceed Thresholds," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(1), pages 1-33, January.
    8. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-636, May-June.
    9. Abarbanell, Jeffery & Lehavy, Reuven, 2003. "Biased forecasts or biased earnings? The role of reported earnings in explaining apparent bias and over/underreaction in analysts' earnings forecasts," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 105-146, December.
    10. Stickel, Scott E, 1992. "Reputation and Performance among Security Analysts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1811-1836, December.
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    More about this item


    cost stickiness; cost variability; analysts’ earnings forecasts; expense forecasts;

    JEL classification:

    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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