Lost in translation: Delayed ex-dividend price adjustments of Hong Kong ADRs
Previous research documents that Hong Kong stocks have a full ex-dividend price adjustment consistent with dividends and capital gains being tax free. We examine ex-dividend price behavior of Hong Kong ADRs to assess the impact of differing tax environments in US and Hong Kong. These ADRs typically go ex-dividend before their underlying stock. They experience significant abnormal returns of 1.16% on their ex-day; the average ex-day price drop is only 30% of the dividend. However, ADR prices drop when the underlying stock goes ex-dividend subsequently. The cumulative ADR price drop is equal to the dividend. Thus, the ADR ex-dividend adjustment resembles that of the underlying stock, consistent with home country tax laws governing ADR price behavior. Neither liquidity nor transaction costs can explain the anomalous delayed ex-dividend adjustment of ADRs.
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