Properties of Implied Cost of Capital Using Analysts’ Forecasts
26 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2011 Last revised: 17 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 1, 2011
We evaluate the influence of measurement error in analysts’ forecasts on the accuracy of implied cost of capital estimates from various implementations of the ‘implied cost of capital’ approach, and develop corrections for the measurement error. The implied cost of capital approach relies on analysts’ short- and long-term earnings forecasts as proxies for the market’s expectation of future earnings, and solves for the implied discount rate that equates the present value of the expected future payoffs to the current stock price. We document predictable error in the implied cost of capital estimates resulting from analysts’ forecasts that are sluggish with respect to information in past stock returns. We propose two methods to mitigate the influence of sluggish forecasts on the implied cost of capital estimates. These methods substantially improve the ability of the implied cost of capital estimates to explain cross-sectional variation in future stock returns, which is consistent with the corrections being effective in mitigating the error in the estimates due to analysts’ sluggishness.
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