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Do Price Discreteness and Transactions Costs Affect Stock Returns? Comparing Ex-Dividend Pricing before and after Decimalization

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  • John R. Graham

    (Duke University)

  • Roni Michaely

    (Cornell University and IDC)

  • Michael R. Roberts

    (Duke University)

Abstract

By the end of January 2001, all NYSE stocks had converted their price quotations from 1/8s and 1/16s to decimals. This study examines the effect of this change in price quotations on ex-dividend day activity. We find that abnormal ex-dividend day returns increase in the 1/16 and decimal pricing eras, relative to the 1/8 era, which is inconsistent with microstructure explanations of ex-day price movements. We also find that abnormal returns increase in conjunction with a May 1997 reduction in the capital gains tax rate, as they should if relative taxation of dividends and capital gains affects ex-day pricing. Copyright 2003 by the American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • John R. Graham & Roni Michaely & Michael R. Roberts, 2003. "Do Price Discreteness and Transactions Costs Affect Stock Returns? Comparing Ex-Dividend Pricing before and after Decimalization," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2611-2636, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:58:y:2003:i:6:p:2611-2636
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