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A new perspective on post‐earnings‐announcement‐drift: Using a relative drift measure

Michael Clement, Joonho Lee and Kevin Ow Yong

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 2019, vol. 46, issue 9-10, 1123-1143

Abstract: Prior research finds that there is a delayed reaction to both analyst‐based earnings surprises and random‐walk‐based earnings surprises. Focusing on the market reaction from the post‐announcement window, prior studies show that analyst‐based drift is larger than random walk‐based drift. This finding is counter‐intuitive if we believe large, sophisticated investors tend to trade on analysts’ forecast earnings news and thus react faster and more completely than smaller and less sophisticated investors react to random walk earnings news. In this study, we construct a relative measure of post‐earnings‐announcement drift (PEAD) (i.e., drift as a proportion of total market reaction to earnings news) which we refer to as the ‘drift ratio’, and we provide evidence, consistent with our intuition, that analyst‐based drift ratio is smaller (not greater) than random‐walk‐based drift ratio. We find that this difference is more pronounced in more recent periods and for firms with more sophisticated investors. Our approach to measure the PEAD is more intuitive than that in traditional PEAD literature. Our results thus complement existing research findings by utilizing the drift ratio measure to generate new insights about the drift phenomenon.

Date: 2019
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Journal of Business Finance & Accounting is currently edited by P. F. Pope, A. W. Stark and M. Walker

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