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Understanding the Accrual Anomaly

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  • Jin Ginger Wu
  • Lu Zhang
  • X. Frank Zhang
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Abstract

Interpreting accruals as working capital investment, we hypothesize that firms rationally adjust their investment to respond to discount rate changes. Consistent with the optimal investment hypothesis, we document that (i) the predictive power of accruals for future stock returns increases with the covariations of accruals with past and current stock returns, and (ii) adding investment- based factors into standard factor regressions substantially reduces the magnitude of the accrual anomaly. High accrual firms also have similar corporate governance and entrenchment indexes as low accrual firms. This evidence suggests that the accrual anomaly is more likely to be driven by optimal investment than by investor overreaction to excessive growth or over-investment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13525.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Publication status: published as WU, J., ZHANG, L. and ZHANG, X. F. (2010), The q-Theory Approach to Understanding the Accrual Anomaly. Journal of Accounting Research, 48: 177–223. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-679X.2009.00353.x
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13525

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Cited by:
  1. Frederico Belo & Chen Xue & Lu Zhang, 2010. "Cross-sectional Tobin's Q," NBER Working Papers 16336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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