DOI: 10.1093/rfs/hhad099 ISSN: 0893-9454

Are Analyst “Top Picks” Informative?

Justin Birru, Sinan Gokkaya, Xi Liu, René Stulz
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Finance
  • Accounting


Following the Global Settlement, analysts extensively use a top pick designation allowing for greater granularity of information among buy recommended stocks, but conflicts of interest can potentially influence this designation. Examining a novel sample of top picks, we find that a calendar-time portfolio of top picks generates an abnormal performance of 17.6% per year. Top picks have greater investment value than do buy recommendations and alternative analyst investment strategies. Both institutional and retail investors trade in response to top picks. However, only institutional investors appear to identify top picks that have greater investment value when they are announced.