We attempt in this paper to utilize soft information in financial reports to analyze financial risk among companies. Specifically, on the basis of the text information in financial reports, which is the so-called soft information, we apply analytical techniques to study relations between texts and financial risk. Furthermore, we conduct a study on financial sentiment analysis by using a finance-specific sentiment lexicon to examine the relations between financial sentiment words and financial risk. A large collection of financial reports published annually by publicly-traded companies is employed to conduct our experiments; moreover, two analytical techniques – regression and ranking methods – are applied to conduct these analyses. The experimental results show that, based on a bag-of-words model, using only financial sentiment words results in performance comparable to using the whole texts; this confirms the importance of financial sentiment words with respect to risk prediction. In addition to this performance comparison, via the learned models, we draw attention to some strong and interesting correlations between texts and financial risk. These valuable findings yield greater insight and understanding into the usefulness of soft information in financial reports and can be applied to a broad range of financial and accounting applications.
European Journal of Operational Research, Volume 257, Issue 1, Pages 243–250