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Limits of Arbitrage and Corporate Financial Policy

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  • Massa, Massimo
  • Peyer, Urs
  • Tong, Zhenxu

Abstract

We focus on an exogenous event that changes the cost of capital of a company – the addition of its stock to the S&P 500 index – and investigate how companies react to it by modifying their corporate financial and investment policies. This allows us to test capital structure theories in an ideal controlled experiment, where the effect of the index addition on the stock price is exogenous from a manager’s point of view. Consistent with both traditional theories and Stein’s (1996) market timing theory, we find more equity issues and increases in investment in response to higher index addition announcement returns. However, in the 24 months after the index addition, firms that issue equity and increase investment display negative abnormal returns and they perform worse than firms that issue but do not increase investment. This finding is consistent only with the market timing theory of Stein (1996) and supports a ‘limits of arbitrage’ story in which the stocks display a downward sloping demand curve and companies themselves act as ‘arbitrageurs’ taking advantage of the window of opportunity.

Suggested Citation

  • Massa, Massimo & Peyer, Urs & Tong, Zhenxu, 2005. "Limits of Arbitrage and Corporate Financial Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4829, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4829
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rohit Rahi & Jean-Pierre Zigrand, 2009. "Strategic Financial Innovation in Segmented Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(8), pages 2941-2971, August.
    2. Christopher J. Neely & Paul A. Weller, 2007. "Central bank intervention with limited arbitrage," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 249-260.
    3. Barth, Mary E. & Konchitchki, Yaniv & Landsman, Wayne R., 2013. "Cost of capital and earnings transparency," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 206-224.
    4. Jeffrey Wurgler, 2010. "On the Economic Consequences of Index-Linked Investing," NBER Working Papers 16376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rahi, Rohit & Zigrand, Jean-Pierre, 2008. "Arbitrage networks," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4787, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Tong, Jiao & Bremer, Marc, 2016. "Stock repurchases in Japan: A solution to excessive corporate saving?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 41-56.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    corporate financial policies; limits of arbitrage; market timing;

    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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