Earnings Conference Call Content and Stock Price: The Case of REITs

James S. Doran, David R. Peterson and S. McKay Price

Online First™, 17 August 2010

Abstract

Using computer based content analysis, we quantify the linguistic tone of quarterly earnings conference calls for publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). After controlling for the earnings announcement, we examine the relation between conference call tone and the contemporaneous stock price reaction. We find that the tone of the conference call dialogue has significant explanatory power for the abnormal returns at and immediately following quarterly earnings announcements. The question and answer portion of the conference calls dominates prepared managerial introductory remarks in explanatory significance. Furthermore, an overall positive tone in the conference call discussion between management and analysts is found to nearly offset the damaging effects of a negative earnings surprise.

Keywords  REITs – Conference calls – Content analysis – Tone

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