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Investor Sentiment and the (Discretionary) Accrual-return Relation

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  • Jiajun Jiang

    ()

  • Qi Liu

    ()

  • Bo Sun

Abstract

Discretionary accruals are positively associated with stock returns at the aggregate level but negatively so in the cross section. Using Baker-Wurgler investor sentiment index, we find that a significant presence of sentiment-driven investors is important in accounting for both patterns. We document that the aggregate relation is only prominent during periods of high investor sentiment. Similarly, the cross-section relation is considerably stronger in high-sentiment periods in both economic magnitude and statistical significance. We then embed investor sentiment into a stylized model of earnings management, and illustrate that a positive (negative) relationship between stock returns and earnings management can endogenously emerge in the aggregate (cross section). Our analysis suggests that the (discretionary) accrual-return relation at both the aggregate and firm levels at least partially reflects mispricing that is related to market-wide investor sentiment.

Suggested Citation

  • Jiajun Jiang & Qi Liu & Bo Sun, 2020. "Investor Sentiment and the (Discretionary) Accrual-return Relation," International Finance Discussion Papers 1300, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1300
    DOI: 10.17016/IFDP.2020.1300
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    File URL: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/ifdp/files/ifdp1300.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bulkley, George & Harris, Richard D F, 1997. "Irrational Analysts' Expectations as a Cause of Excess Volatility in Stock Prices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 359-371, March.
    2. Leuz, Christian & Nanda, Dhananjay & Wysocki, Peter D., 2003. "Earnings management and investor protection: an international comparison," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 505-527, September.
    3. Hui Guo & Xiaowen Jiang, 2011. "Accruals and the Conditional Equity Premium," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 187-221, March.
    4. Ball, Ray & Gerakos, Joseph & Linnainmaa, Juhani T. & Nikolaev, Valeri, 2016. "Accruals, cash flows, and operating profitability in the cross section of stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 28-45.
    5. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Investor sentiment; Uncertainty; Earnings management; Accrual anomaly;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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