Playing Favorites: How Firms Prevent the Revelation of Bad News

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Playing Favorites: How Firms Prevent the Revelation of Bad News

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Title: Playing Favorites: How Firms Prevent the Revelation of Bad News
Author: Cohen, Lauren Harry; Lou, Dong; Malloy, Christopher James

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Citation: Cohen, Lauren, Dong Lou, and Christopher J. Malloy. "Playing Favorites: How Firms Prevent the Revelation of Bad News." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-021, September 2013.
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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.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#OAP
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11508220
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