SYNOPSIS

To provide evidence on the role macroeconomic uncertainty plays in managers' decision to issue management earnings forecasts (MFs), this study develops and tests hypotheses about how such uncertainty affects the issuance and characteristics of MFs. Macroeconomic uncertainty is measured using the dispersion in GDP forecasts and the CBOE's Volatility Index (VIX). We find that during periods of high macroeconomic uncertainty there is a decrease in the likelihood of MF issuance, consistent with managers assigning a higher cost to releasing forward-looking information as macroeconomic uncertainty increases. We also find that managers issue fewer good and bad news MFs, but more neutral MFs, during periods of high macroeconomic uncertainty. Macroeconomic uncertainty also affects the characteristics of the MFs that managers do issue; for example, managers shift to more earnings preannouncements and to shorter-horizon, but more precise, MFs. Further analysis indicates that the regulatory changes imbedded in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act increased the costs of providing MFs, thereby increasing the sensitivity of MF issuance to macroeconomic uncertainty. The findings provide insight into the role macroeconomic uncertainty plays in managers' decision to issue MFs and the characteristics of the MFs they choose to issue.

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