The Journal of Finance

The Journal of Finance publishes leading research across all the major fields of finance. It is one of the most widely cited journals in academic finance, and in all of economics. Each of the six issues per year reaches over 8,000 academics, finance professionals, libraries, and government and financial institutions around the world. The journal is the official publication of The American Finance Association, the premier academic organization devoted to the study and promotion of knowledge about financial economics.

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More Than Words: Quantifying Language to Measure Firms' Fundamentals

Published: 05/09/2008   |   DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.2008.01362.x

PAUL C. TETLOCK, MAYTAL SAAR‐TSECHANSKY, SOFUS MACSKASSY

We examine whether a simple quantitative measure of language can be used to predict individual firms' accounting earnings and stock returns. Our three main findings are: (1) the fraction of negative words in firm‐specific news stories forecasts low firm earnings; (2) firms' stock prices briefly underreact to the information embedded in negative words; and (3) the earnings and return predictability from negative words is largest for the stories that focus on fundamentals. Together these findings suggest that linguistic media content captures otherwise hard‐to‐quantify aspects of firms' fundamentals, which investors quickly incorporate into stock prices.