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Keywords:

  • initial public offerings;
  • analyst behaviour;
  • conflicts of interest;
  • research quality;
  • earnings forecasts and stock recommendations
  • G14;
  • G24

Abstract

The quality of equity research by financial analysts is a prerequisite for an efficient capital market. This study investigates the quality of earnings forecasts and stock recommendations for initial public offerings (IPOs) in Germany. The empirical study includes 12,605 earnings forecasts and 6,209 stock recommendations of individual analysts for the time period from 1997 to 2004. The focus of this study is on analysing the potential conflicts of interest that arise when the analyst is affiliated with the underwriter of an IPO. In a universal banking system these conflicts of interest are usually more pronounced and therefore interesting to investigate. The empirical findings for the German financial market suggest that earnings forecasts and stock recommendations of the analysts belonging to the lead-underwriter are on average inaccurate and biased, indicating some conflicts of interest. Moreover, the stock recommendations of the analysts that are affiliated with the lead-underwriter are often too optimistic resulting in a significant long-run underperformance for the investor. In contrast, unaffiliated analysts provide better earnings forecasts and stock recommendations that result in a superior performance for the investor.