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The Level and Persistence of Growth Rates

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Expectations about long-term earnings growth are crucial to valuation models and cost of capital estimates. We analyze historical long-term growth rates across a broad cross section of stocks using several indicators of operating performance. We test for persistence and predictability in growth. While some firms have grown at high rates historically, they are relatively rare instances. There is no persistence in long-term earnings growth beyond chance, and there is low predictability even with a wide variety of predictor variables. Specifically, IBES growth forecasts are overly optimistic and add little predictive power. Valuation ratios also have limited ability to predict future growth.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Finance, College of Commerce and Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; 2: Department of Finance, Warrington College of Business Administration, University of Florida; 3: Department of Finance, College of Commerce and Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and NBER.

Publication date: 2003-04-01

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