How do investors explain and predict how stock prices will change? An increasingly important source of information they use are “whisper earnings numbers,” and Barney School of Business Professor of Accounting Susan Machuga is at the forefront of research on whisper earnings and their interrelationship with Wall Street analysts’ earnings research.
“Whisper numbers” are unpublished earnings estimates provided by anonymous investors and institutional traders, and complement (or are even more closely followed than) Wall Street analysts’ estimates. These anonymous earnings forecasts are collected and aggregated on the renowned worldwide financial website WhisperNumber.com, which was founded in 1998 “with the belief that the aggregated data collected from individual investors would prove more timely, accurate, and useful than the analysts’ consensus estimates,” according to the website.
The site posts the so-called whisper earnings numbers for many of America's top companies. Whisper numbers are regarded as equally, if not more important, than Wall Street analysts' estimates of corporate earnings, are widely followed by the investment community and the financial news media, and have often been found to explain stock price movements during the earnings season better than Wall Street analysts' earnings estimates.
Dr. Machuga’s two co-authored articles — "Explaining the Surprising Performance of Whisper Forecasts of Earnings," published in Advances in Quantitative Analysis of Finance and Accounting, and "Hearing the Whispers," published in the financial practitioner magazine Financial Advisor — are both featured with their respective links on the official WhisperNumber.com website.