Bridge over ocean
1 March 2004 Financial Analysts Journal Volume 60, Issue 2

Bias in European Analysts' Earnings Forecasts

  1. Stan Beckers
  2. Michael Steliaros
  3. Alexander Thomson

Forecasting company earnings is a difficult and hazardous task. In an efficient market where analysts learn from past mistakes, there should be no persistent and systematic biases in consensus earnings accuracy. Previous research has already established how some (single) individual-company characteristics systematically influence forecast accuracy. So far, however, the effect on consensus earnings biases of a company's sector and country affiliation combined with a range of other fundamental characteristics has remained largely unexplored. Using data for 1993–2002, this article disentangles and quantifies for a broad universe of European stocks how the number of analysts following a stock, the dispersion of their forecasts, the volatility of earnings, the sector and country classification of the covered company, and its market capitalization influence the accuracy of the consensus earnings forecast.

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