Recent work in the supply chain literature suggests that the variance in orders placed with suppliers will be larger than that of sales to buyers. This distortion in demand information increases as it is passed along the supply chain from customers to upstream suppliers and has been referred to as “the bullwhip effect”. In this paper we argue that the bullwhip effect reduces the ability of order backlog to predict future sales and earnings for upstream suppliers. Results obtained from our empirical analysis support this proposition. We find that the impact of bullwhip on the predictive ability of order backlog is further accentuated in firms with longer operating cycles. Market intermediaries such as financial analysts, on average, are unable to fully account for differences in the predictive ability of order backlog. However, analysts belonging to employers that follow all firms in a vertical supply chain, do a better job of understanding the impact of bullwhip on the predictive ability of order backlog. In additional tests, we find that the bullwhip effect also impedes the ability of inventory components to predict future sales and earnings.