Article | Financial Analysts Journal | July – August 2011

What Factors Drive Analyst Forecasts?

by Boris Groysberg, Paul Healy, Nitin Nohria and George Serafeim


A firm's competitive environment, its strategic choices, and its internal capabilities are considered important determinants of its future performance. Yet there is little evidence on whether analysts' forecasts of firm performance actually reflect any of these factors and which are considered most important. We use survey data from 967 analysts ranking 837 companies to judge how their forecasts are related to evaluations of firms' industry competitiveness, strategic choices, and internal capabilities. Forecasts are generally associated with many of the factors that money managers rate as important in their assessments of analyst contributions, including industry growth and competitiveness, low-price strategy, strategy execution, top management quality, innovation, and performance-driven culture. We also find wide variation across variables for ratings consistency among analysts covering the same firm. On average, consistency is higher for sell-side than buy-side analysts, consistent with sell-side analysts facing greater incentives to herd.

Keywords: Competition; Forecasting and Prediction; Industry Growth; Judgments; Performance; Valuation; Price; Quality; Innovation and Invention; Organizational Culture; Competency and Skills; Surveys;


Groysberg, Boris, Paul Healy, Nitin Nohria, and George Serafeim. "What Factors Drive Analyst Forecasts?" Financial Analysts Journal 67, no. 4 (July–August 2011).