Investor's Earnings Estimates Top Analysts
in Returns and Impact on Stocks
Results of new study conclude investor estimates for quarterly earnings (whisper numbers) provide greater returns when used as an investment vehicle, and have a greater impact on stock movement than analysts consensus estimates.
(New Jersey, January 17th, 2006) -- A recently published university study indicates whisper numbers for earnings have a more significant impact on stock movement than analyst estimates. A whisper number is the collective expectation of individual investors for quarterly earnings.
Maretno Harjoto and Janis Zaima (finance professors at San Jose State University, College of Business in California) published the study 'Conflict in Whispers and Analysts Forecast: Which One Should Be Your Guide' in the fall edition of the acclaimed Financial Decisions journal. The journal is a blind-refereed, quarterly published journal for academic and financial professionals.
Zaima and Harjoto conducted the independent study using data collected from the leading whisper number authority WhisperNumber.com over a four-year period. The published work provides five major findings (summarized here by the authors):
- When actual earnings meet/beat analyst forecasts but not whispers, on average, the stock exhibits significant losses after the earnings release indicating that the market reacts to the whisper number over the analysts estimate.
- When actual earnings per share (EPS) meet/beat both whispers and analyst forecasts, the stock reacts positively before and after the earnings release, and when actual EPS does not beat both whispers and analysts the stock reacts negatively on the earnings announcement date and after it.
- A trading strategy using analyst forecasts alone generates approximately 2 to 3% more than the market index (ignoring trading fees) while a trading strategy using whispers alone generates about 3-4% more than the market index.
- However, if whispers and analyst forecasts are different in their opinion about corporate earnings, on average, the stock reacts or 'listens' to whispers over the analyst forecasts.
- Creating a trading strategy using whispers rather than analysts when the two differ and investing when the forecasts agree, investors can earn, on average, 6% to 8% more than the market index over the 3 days that include the earnings announcement date and 2 days after, again ignoring trading fees.
Even though whisper numbers are the collective earnings expectations expressed by individuals, stock participants find them to be informative and can rely on whispers to invest. WhisperNumber.com has been tapping into the so-called 'wisdom of crowds' (in this case 'wisdom of individual investors') since its inception in 1998.
Janis Zaima, co-author of the recent study stated, "It is common knowledge that stock prices react to differences in analyst forecasts and actual earnings, but we were quite impressed with the more significant impact of whisper numbers. Our study showed that whispers add another dimension of information to market participants to the point where investors can make money after the earnings release"
John Scherr, President of WhisperNumber.com explained, "This is the first ever independent study to analyze a full four years worth of 'whisper number' data from WhisperNumber.com. We've always known the information to be powerful, but to finally have such an extensive study prove the greater impact of whisper numbers (versus analysts estimates) on stock price movement is quite satisfying. Investors no longer need to be tied solely to the consensus estimate and can be confident using our data to help make better investing decisions."
This was also the first study of whisper numbers to exclusively use data from WhisperNumber.com.
Scherr added, "Other studies have combined our data with information from firms that do not follow our rigid quality assurance processes or use our strict methodologies. We considered the outcome of those studies, both positive and negative, as corrupt. The results from the Zaima/Harjoto study confirms what we have always known - the data we collect from individual investors is more useful and the most valuable indicator of true market expectations when compared to the more commonly referenced analyst estimates."
WhisperNumber.com is an independent financial research firm that collects sentiment and market expectations from the investment public. The 'whisper number' found on WhisperNumber.com is derived from an average of individual investors' expectations regarding earnings for the most recent quarter. The whisper number is available to the general public and is considered an alternative to analyst estimates (or consensus numbers) for quarterly earnings. The company also gathers whisper numbers for monthly economic expectations data from investors, and publishes market sentiment data on US & Global Stock Markets, bonds, sectors, ETF's, currencies, and all major commodities in the metals, energy, and agricultural groups.
Financial Decisions (journal):
'Conflict in Whispers and Analysts Forecast: Which One Should Be Your Guide'
David Hunimen, WhisperNumber.com
Janis Zaima, San Jose State University
Professor of Finance
San Jose State University
College of Business, BT850
Dept of Accounting & Finance
San Jose, CA 95192-0066