The aim of this paper is to investigate the relationship between narrative sentiment in analysts' company reports and their recommendation and target price outputs. We study an industry-balanced sample of 275 UK quoted company sell-side analyst reports over the period 2006-2010 using a content analysis methodology to measure net sentiment for a range of themes. We then model analysts' outputs against themed sentiment scores to analyse the impact of the Global Financial Crisis. We find that themed sentiments impact upon analysts' outputs, but their magnitude and direction vary over the pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis periods. In particular, before the crisis we find a strong negative relationship between the macroeconomic and regulatory environment and report outputs, though this effect diminishes somewhat with the onset of the crisis, to be restored thereafter. Growth sentiment exerts a weak positive impact before the crisis which disappears thereafter. Financial performance sentiment becomes a significant positive driver of outputs following the crisis. There is evidently a "back to basics" approach following the crisis which restores financial fundamentals to the heart of stock analysis. Our findings provide some insight into the thought processes of analysts by identifying the dynamic relation between analysts' outputs and themed sentiments.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Accounting and Business Research on 11/11/2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/00014788.2015.1044496
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- analyst recommendations
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