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Stock Return Dynamics under Earnings Management

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  • Xiaotong Wang

    (Penn State University)

  • Heng-fu Zou

    (World Bank)

Abstract

This paper explores how earnings management influences asset returns and return volatility via real economic activity. In the model, firms smooth earnings via the costly and economically suboptimal intertemporal transfer of assets and liabilities. As a result, the firm's stock return follows a process that conforms to an EGARCH-like statistical model. The key idea is that real earnings management generates an unobservable cost, and the market has to infer the underlying wealth of the firm from the smoothed reported earn-ings series. This framework may help explain why asset returns underreact to good news and overreact to bad news, while no news is always good news to the market. Empirical evidence that earnings innovations impact future return volatility, in line with the model's predictions, is found in the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics in its series CEMA Working Papers with number 331.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 23 Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cuf:wpaper:331

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Web page: http://cema.cufe.edu.cn/
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  1. Bekaert, Geert & Wu, Guojun, 2000. "Asymmetric Volatility and Risk in Equity Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(1), pages 1-42.
  2. Robert Engle, 2004. "Risk and Volatility: Econometric Models and Financial Practice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 405-420, June.
  3. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance And Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-155, February.
  4. Engle, Robert F & Ng, Victor K, 1993. " Measuring and Testing the Impact of News on Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1749-78, December.
  5. Pagan, Adrian R. & Schwert, G. William, 1990. "Alternative models for conditional stock volatility," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1-2), pages 267-290.
  6. David Burgstahler & Michael Eames, 2006. "Management of Earnings and Analysts' Forecasts to Achieve Zero and Small Positive Earnings Surprises," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(5-6), pages 633-652.
  7. Brennan, Michael J. & Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar, 1995. "Investment analysis and price formation in securities markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 361-381, July.
  8. Bollerslev, Tim & Chou, Ray Y. & Kroner, Kenneth F., 1992. "ARCH modeling in finance : A review of the theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 5-59.
  9. Lawrence R. Glosten & Ravi Jagannathan & David E. Runkle, 1993. "On the relation between the expected value and the volatility of the nominal excess return on stocks," Staff Report 157, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. John R. Graham & Campbell R. Harvey & Shiva Rajgopal, 2004. "The Economic Implications of Corporate Financial Reporting," NBER Working Papers 10550, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ron Kasznik, 2002. "Does Meeting Earnings Expectations Matter? Evidence from Analyst Forecast Revisions and Share Prices," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 727-759, 06.
  12. Abarbanell, Jeffery & Lehavy, Reuven, 2003. "Biased forecasts or biased earnings? The role of reported earnings in explaining apparent bias and over/underreaction in analysts' earnings forecasts," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-3), pages 105-146, December.
  13. Nelson, Daniel B, 1991. "Conditional Heteroskedasticity in Asset Returns: A New Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 347-70, March.
  14. Timothy C. Johnson, 2001. "Return Dynamics when Persistence is Unobservable," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 415-445.
  15. French, Kenneth R. & Schwert, G. William & Stambaugh, Robert F., 1987. "Expected stock returns and volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 3-29, September.
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