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Quarterly Earnings Patterns, Earnings Management, Information Content
Evidence such as Das, Shroff, and Zhang (2009) suggests that firms routinely reverse their earnings pattern during their fourth quarter compared to that of last year, possibly leading to earnings management. Motivated by these findings, this study seeks to document whether the market sees through seasonal quarterly earnings patterns and reacts consistent with an earnings management hypothesis. Using an amended Easton and Harris (1991) model, I study whether the earnings variables are more informative based upon the seasonal differencing patterns by incorporating dummy variables, along with their respective interaction terms, to signify the first time the pattern occurs. My results show the market sees the seasonal quarterly earnings pattern; the earning levels and changes in earnings variables are more informative but the (managed) earnings tend to be transitory, not permanent in nature. All other tests performed support these general conclusions.