Today’s News from the University of Kansas
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LAWRENCE – More than 20 years ago, Kevin Willmott began writing a screenplay about the so-called Houston race riot of 1917, when Black soldiers rose up against police brutality. The University of Kansas professor of film & media studies couldn’t have known that this film, “The 24th,” would premiere during this summer of #DefundThePolice — but he knew it would be relevant whenever it came out. “The 24th” will premiere on demand Aug. 21 via independent distributor Vertical Entertainment.
LAWRENCE — Equity analysts produce outputs that include stock recommendations, earning estimates and 12-month target prices. But often, different outputs issued by the same analyst at the same time conflict with one another. That’s not necessarily cause for alarm, a University of Kansas assistant professor of business says in a new article for the Journal of Accounting and Economics.
Full stories below.
LAWRENCE – Kevin Willmott knows well how old the story of anti-Black police brutality is. More than 20 years ago, he began writing a screenplay about the so-called Houston race riot of 1917, when Black soldiers rose up against racist cops.
He couldn’t have known that that film, “The 24th,” would premiere during this summer of #GeorgeFloyd, #PortlandProtest and #DefundThePolice. But he knew it would be relevant whenever it came out.
“One bad police officer could destroy a city then, and you can destroy a city like that today,” said the University of Kansas professor of film & media studies and Oscar-winning (“BlacKkKlansman”) screenwriter. “Years later, we’re still dealing with the results of a bad police force that accepts racist policing — and it’s one guy that creates the incident. Like the George Floyd thing, it’s that one guy that makes the other three guys go along with it.”
“The 24th” is Willmott’s second film about Black soldiers to premiere this summer. “Da Five Bloods,” which was set in Vietnam and which Willmott co-wrote with director Spike Lee, premiered June 12 on Netflix. Willmott directed, co-wrote and co-produced “The 24th,” which premieres on-demand Aug. 21 via independent distributor Vertical Entertainment.
Willmott, who grew up in Junction City, near U.S. Army Fort Riley, sees commonalities between the two films’ groups of soldiers.
“I think the Buffalo Soldiers, the Black soldiers that sacrificed in all of these campaigns, believed that somehow their sacrifice was going to make things better,” he said. “They truly believed in the hope of tomorrow. And one of the major courageous elements of their legacy has been that their whole service was about hope for the future.”
Willmott said “The 24th” deals mainly with the lead-up to the 1917 riots and secondarily with its aftermath, which included the largest murder trial in American history – a court-martial of 64 members of the 24th Infantry Division accused of taking part in the uprising that led to the deaths of 21 policemen, soldiers and civilians.
No one today disputes that Houston police officers’ brutality, first against Black citizens and then against the soldiers of the 24th who stood up to defend their honor, touched off the spasm of violence.
It’s been the stuff of song, but precious few books and no movies.
“The Leadbelly song ‘Midnight Special’ has a line in it that refers to the police in Houston,” Willmott noted, quoting, “‘If you ever go to Houston, you better walk right. You better not gamble, and you better not fight.’ Houston was known as a brutal police force.”
Willmott said that nearly 30 years ago, “I stumbled across this photograph of the trial. There’s only one photograph of the trial. And that trial of 64 guys all together just blew my mind. The caption said, ‘The largest murder trial in American history.’ So I had to look and see what the story was there. There was one book on it. There’s been a lot more in the last few years about it. I wrote a script that, at that time, was called ‘Colored Men,’ and that script would get me jobs, but I couldn’t find a way to get that movie made.”
Nevertheless, Willmott said, “I always thought Trai Byers would be really good as the lead in this film.” Byers, a Kansas City, Kansas, native and University of Kansas graduate, portrayed the crucial role of jazz music student and Wilt Chamberlain’s friend, Nathan Davis, through whose eyes Willmott’s 2014 film, “Jayhawkers,” is told.
And so last year, with Willmott’s Oscar cred and Byers’ cachet from his role as Andre Lyon on the Fox Broadcasting Co. TV series “Empire,” and after the two worked together on a re-write of the script, resulting in Byers’ first writing credit, the film got made during Willmott’s summer break.
The 18-day shooting schedule in North Carolina required “all my low-budget-movie-making tricks,” Willmott said.
The history buff is happy with the finished film’s fidelity to the facts of its inspiration.
“We fictionalized some things about the main character and his love relationship, and we create stories within the group of men,” Willmott said. “But the event itself, I think we’re very accurate to what happened and how it happened and those things that really matter.”
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Contact: Jon Niccum, KU News Service, 785-864-7633, [email protected]
LAWRENCE — Equity analysts produce outputs that include stock recommendations, earning estimates and 12-month target prices. But often, different outputs issued by the same analyst at the same time conflict with one another.
When investment banking deals are involved, analysts tend to appease the management by revising their recommendation or target price, while they try to be accurate for the EPS (earnings per share) forecast. So sometimes they go the other direction, and it can be seen as inconsistent.
“Everybody has pressures that would lead to inconsistencies. That’s well-known in the prior literature. I wouldn’t deny that happens,” said Min Park, assistant professor of business at the University of Kansas.
“But the bigger picture is that there is a rational reason behind these inconsistencies. Basically, there are accounting or economic factors why analysts revise their outputs in what looks to be an inconsistent manner.”
His article “Seemingly Inconsistent Analyst Revisions” appears in the Journal of Accounting and Economics.
In research co-written with Michael Iselin and Andrew Van Buskirk, Park found that in 20-30% of cases where an analyst revises two outputs simultaneously, these estimates get revised in opposite directions. Their study began by documenting the prevalence of discrepancies within these pairs.
Park said, “Prior literature associates analyst inconsistency mostly with conflicts of interest related to investment banking activities. Essentially, they are considered ‘bad analysts.’ It’s assumed because of conflicts of interest, they are behaving strategically.”
These contradictory outputs are viewed as less valid by investors. However, Park wrote they “are neither less accurate than consistent outputs, nor do they resolve less investor uncertainty upon their release.” His results suggest researchers should remain cautious in interpreting such analyst outputs as a measure of bias or quality.
For example, if an analyst is revising earnings estimates and a target price on the same day for, say, Tesla, they may revise them in different directions, thus implying inconsistency in their work.
“But we are saying that’s not always true. They’re incorporating accounting and other economic factors into their valuation model. They’re totally rational in doing that, and just because they revised one output down and the other up, it doesn’t mean they’re foolish. We should not see that as less credible. They’re doing the right thing,” he said.
Prior to his academic career, Park was a sell-side equity research analyst covering South Korean stocks. Did that help with researching and writing this article?
“I’m not saying I know everything about the full picture, but as a former practitioner, I at least have some intuition about what’s going on behind these seemingly inconsistent revisions — because I was the one who actually did these things,” he said.
Now completing his first year at KU, Park’s expertise focuses on capital markets and information intermediaries such as analysts and institutional investors.
He’s optimistic “Seemingly Inconsistent Analyst Revisions” may help those in his industry rethink how they view irregularities.
“Hopefully, academic researchers appreciate there are other rational factors behind these analyst revisions,” he said. “And also for practitioners and investors, they will consider those rational factors when they’re interpreting analyst outputs which are seemingly inconsistent.”
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