Every quarter, thousands of CEOs accross America present their results to investors and answer questions from financial analysts. Analyzing the language that CEOs use in these calls provides a unique opportunity to take the “pulse” of corporate leadership in America. Join the newsletter to receive weekly data updates.

wdt_ID Financial Markets Firms Covered
1 NASDAQ 2262
2 NYSE 2136
3 OTC 796
4 Total 5194

How many CEOs hold Earnings Calls?

The chart below on the left represents the weekly number of CEOs that organized an earnings call in the United States in 2020. Variations in the data reflect quarterly reporting schedules. The table below on the right represents the start and end dates for each week number. Week #1 is is skipped because very few earnings calls are organized on the first week of January.

wdt_ID Week Start End Count
1 2 06/01/2020 12/01/2020 28
2 3 13/01/2020 19/01/2020 39
3 4 20/01/2020 26/01/2020 130
4 5 27/01/2020 02/02/2020 351
5 6 03/02/2020 09/02/2020 476
6 7 10/02/2020 16/02/2020 471
7 8 17/02/2020 23/02/2020 469
8 9 24/02/2020 01/03/2020 704
9 10 02/03/2020 08/03/2020 309
10 11 09/03/2020 15/03/2020 325
11 12 16/03/2020 22/03/2020 140
12 13 23/03/2020 29/03/2020 117
13 14 30/03/2020 05/04/2020 89
14 15 06/04/2020 12/04/2020 31
15 16 13/04/2020 19/04/2020 58
16 17 20/04/2020 26/04/2020 275
17 18 27/04/2020 03/05/2020 703
18 19 04/05/2020 10/05/2020 1.150
19 20 11/05/2020 17/05/2020 550
20 21 18/05/2020 24/05/2020 159
21 22 25/05/2020 31/05/2020 121
22 23 01/06/2020 07/06/2020 78
23 24 08/06/2020 14/06/2020 63
24 25 15/06/2020 21/06/2020 44
25 26 22/06/2020 28/06/2020 42

How optimistic are CEOs when talking with investors?

The top chart represents the percentage of positive words (e.g. accomplish, strong) relative to negative words (e.g. abandon, burden) in CEO statements. The bottom two charts show the percentage of words that are related to constraints (e.g. inhibit, bound) and uncertainty (e.g. perhaps, sometimes). Weekly scores for 2020 are in red, the average scores for the five prior years are in black.

wdt_ID Week Pos. 2020 Pos. 2015-19 Change
1 2 72,31 72,69 -0,39
2 3 72,05 71,60 0,45
3 4 74,11 72,75 1,36
4 5 73,86 72,40 1,45
5 6 71,92 72,32 -0,40
6 7 72,30 72,44 -0,14
7 8 71,92 71,97 -0,05
8 9 72,79 72,85 -0,06
9 10 70,88 72,68 -1,80
10 11 67,50 72,08 -4,57
11 12 62,33 73,89 -11,56
12 13 62,83 71,42 -8,59
13 14 59,84 71,44 -11,60
14 15 58,43 71,90 -13,47
15 16 51,12 72,25 -21,13
16 17 52,29 72,32 -20,03
17 18 53,49 72,33 -18,84
18 19 56,51 72,15 -15,63
19 20 57,46 71,05 -13,59
20 21 60,05 74,97 -14,92
21 22 59,55 75,61 -16,06
22 23 53,50 75,48 -21,98
23 24 57,99 74,75 -16,76
24 25 59,89 73,28 -13,40
25 26 59,20 76,09 -16,90

What do CEOs discuss with investors?

All three charts below represent the percentage of CEOs who mention words related to a given topic during an earnings call. We track three topics using short word lists: COVID-19 (e.g. coronavirus, pandemic), remote work arrangements (e.g. telework, telecommuting) and financial hardships (e.g. layoffs, bankruptcy). Weekly scores for 2020 are in red, the average scores for the five prior years are in black.

wdt_ID Week COVID-19 Fin. Problems Remote Work
1 2 0,00 3,57 3,57
2 3 0,00 7,69 0,00
3 4 0,00 3,85 0,00
4 5 16,24 2,85 0,28
5 6 32,14 2,94 2,31
6 7 27,18 3,61 3,61
7 8 35,39 4,48 2,13
8 9 34,23 3,69 2,27
9 10 48,87 2,27 4,53
10 11 64,92 3,08 11,69
11 12 76,43 5,71 22,86
12 13 82,91 8,55 35,90
13 14 86,52 11,24 31,46
14 15 90,32 16,13 51,61
15 16 91,38 27,59 50,00
16 17 90,18 25,09 52,00
17 18 92,47 22,44 54,26
18 19 92,70 24,87 44,61
19 20 92,00 20,36 38,00
20 21 91,72 28,66 33,76
21 22 83,47 15,70 42,15
22 23 66,67 2,56 12,82
23 24 65,08 3,17 9,52
24 25 70,45 9,09 6,82
25 26 66,67 0,00 16,67

What emotions do CEOs express to investors?

The top chart represents the percentage of positive emotion words (e.g. excited, gratitude) relative to negative emotion words (e.g. ashamed, upset) in CEO statements. The bottom two charts show the percentage of words that are related to anger (e.g. despicable, obnoxious) and to fear (e.g. frantic, hurt). Weekly scores for 2020 are in red, the average scores for the five prior years are in black.

wdt_ID Week Emo. 2020 Emo. 2015-19 Change
1 2 84,28 83,21 1,07
2 3 84,03 83,49 0,55
3 4 84,59 83,83 0,75
4 5 84,41 83,33 1,08
5 6 84,38 83,86 0,52
6 7 84,63 84,25 0,38
7 8 84,64 84,37 0,27
8 9 84,79 84,45 0,34
9 10 83,79 84,00 -0,20
10 11 82,62 83,90 -1,29
11 12 81,82 84,32 -2,50
12 13 81,38 83,80 -2,42
13 14 81,27 84,06 -2,78
14 15 79,85 83,06 -3,21
15 16 77,43 83,57 -6,14
16 17 77,81 83,83 -6,02
17 18 78,04 84,01 -5,97
18 19 79,02 84,07 -5,05
19 20 79,61 83,92 -4,31
20 21 81,07 85,80 -4,73
21 22 81,08 85,53 -4,45
22 23 79,33 85,90 -6,57
23 24 77,82 84,79 -6,98
24 25 81,82 85,14 -3,32
25 26 80,45 84,86 -4,40

Jean-Nicolas Reyt, PhDAssistant Professor of Organizational Behaviour at McGill University

Contact

jean-nicolas@reyt.net
http://reyt.net

McGill University
Bronfman Building, #319
1001 rue Sherbrooke Ouest
H3A 1G5 Montreal,
Quebec, Canada

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