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Going, Going, Gone? The Apparent Demise of the Accruals Anomaly

  • Jeremiah Green

    ()

    (The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802)

  • John R. M. Hand

    ()

    (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599)

  • Mark T. Soliman

    ()

    (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195)

Registered author(s):

    Consistent with public statements made by sophisticated practitioners, we document that the hedge returns to Sloan's (Sloan, R. G. 1996. Do stock prices fully reflect information in accruals and cash flows about future earnings? Accounting Rev. 71(3) 289-315) accruals anomaly appear to have decayed in U.S. stock markets to the point that they are, on average, no longer reliably positive. We explore some potential reasons why this has happened. Our empirical analyses suggest that the anomaly's demise stems in part from an increase in the amount of capital invested by hedge funds into exploiting it, as measured by hedge fund assets under management and trading volume in extreme accrual firms. A decline in the size of the accrual mispricing signal, as measured by the magnitude of extreme decile accruals and the relative persistence of cash flows and accruals, may also play a (weaker) role. This paper was accepted by Stefan Reichelstein, accounting.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1320
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 5 (May)
    Pages: 797-816

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:57:y:2011:i:5:p:797-816
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    1. Richardson, Scott A. & Sloan, Richard G. & Soliman, Mark T. & Tuna, Irem, 2005. "Accrual reliability, earnings persistence and stock prices," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 437-485, September.
    2. Mitchell, Mark & Pedersen, Lasse Heje & Pulvino, Todd, 2007. "Slow Moving Capital," CEPR Discussion Papers 6117, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Arthur Kraft & Andrew J. Leone & Charles Wasley, 2006. "An Analysis of the Theories and Explanations Offered for the Mispricing of Accruals and Accrual Components," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 297-339, 05.
    4. Bernard, Victor L. & Thomas, Jacob K., 1990. "Evidence that stock prices do not fully reflect the implications of current earnings for future earnings," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 305-340, December.
    5. Mashruwala, Christina & Rajgopal, Shivaram & Shevlin, Terry, 2006. "Why is the accrual anomaly not arbitraged away? The role of idiosyncratic risk and transaction costs," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 3-33, October.
    6. Kothari, S.P. & Loutskina, E. & Nikolaev, V., 2006. "Agency Theory of Overvalued Equity as an Explanation for the Accrual Anomaly," Discussion Paper 2006-103, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    7. Jeremy C. Stein, 2009. "Presidential Address: Sophisticated Investors and Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1517-1548, 08.
    8. Tyler Shumway & Vincent A. Warther, 1999. "The Delisting Bias in CRSP's Nasdaq Data and Its Implications for the Size Effect," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(6), pages 2361-2379, December.
    9. Eugene F. Fama & Kenneth R. French, 2008. "Dissecting Anomalies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1653-1678, 08.
    10. Richardson, Scott & Tuna, Irem & Wysocki, Peter, 2010. "Accounting anomalies and fundamental analysis: A review of recent research advances," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 410-454, December.
    11. Jin (Ginger) Wu & Lu Zhang & X. Frank Zhang, 2010. "The "q"-Theory Approach to Understanding the Accrual Anomaly," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 177-223, 03.
    12. Ashiq Ali & Xuanjuan Chen & Tong Yao & Tong Yu, 2008. "Do Mutual Funds Profit from the Accruals Anomaly?," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-26, 03.
    13. Pontiff, Jeffrey, 2006. "Costly arbitrage and the myth of idiosyncratic risk," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 35-52, October.
    14. Khan, Mozaffar, 2008. "Are accruals mispriced Evidence from tests of an Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 55-77, March.
    15. Patricia M. Dechow & Scott A. Richardson & Richard G. Sloan, 2008. "The Persistence and Pricing of the Cash Component of Earnings," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 537-566, 06.
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