What do Australian annual reports say about future earnings?

CPA Australia
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Accounting Review, 2000, 10 (1), pp. 17 - 25
Issue Date:
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Among available 1990 and 1995 annual reports for the 150 largest ASX listed firms as at June 30, 1996, about 25% of firms provided some form of prospective earnings disclosure. However, these disclosures tended to be qualitative rather than quantitative, and any association between the direction of the implied change in earnings and the subsequent actual earnings change is not consistent between the 2 periods sampled. These results suggest that encouraging the provision of prospective earnings information as part of a report's management discussion and analysis may not produce benefits for investors, unless the resulting disclosures are of a higher quality than those which have been provided without any official encouragement to do so. The study provides evidence that forecasts and non-forecasters differ systematically in respect of likely product market competition, firm size, asset structure, ownership structure, audit quality and whether they are cross-listed on overseas stock exchanges. These results reinforce concerns that attempts to increase the extent of forward-looking earnings disclosures may not be beneficial for investors.
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