How to Talk Down Your Stock Performance
We process the natural language of verbal firm disclosures in order to study the use of context specific language or jargon and its impact on financial performance. We observe that, within the Q&A of earnings conference calls, managers use less jargon in responses to tougher questions, and after a quarter of bad economic success. Moreover, markets interpret the lack of precise information as a bad signal: we find lower cumulative abnormal returns and a higher implied volatility following earnings calls where managers use less jargon. These results support the argument that context specific language or jargon helps to efficiently and precisely transfer information.