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Understanding the Accrual Anomaly

Author

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  • Jin Ginger Wu
  • Lu Zhang
  • X. Frank Zhang

Abstract

Interpreting accruals as working capital investment, we hypothesize that firms rationally adjust their investment to respond to discount rate changes. Consistent with the optimal investment hypothesis, we document that (i) the predictive power of accruals for future stock returns increases with the covariations of accruals with past and current stock returns, and (ii) adding investment- based factors into standard factor regressions substantially reduces the magnitude of the accrual anomaly. High accrual firms also have similar corporate governance and entrenchment indexes as low accrual firms. This evidence suggests that the accrual anomaly is more likely to be driven by optimal investment than by investor overreaction to excessive growth or over-investment.

Suggested Citation

  • Jin Ginger Wu & Lu Zhang & X. Frank Zhang, 2007. "Understanding the Accrual Anomaly," NBER Working Papers 13525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13525
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Frederico Belo & Chen Xue & Lu Zhang, 2010. "Cross-sectional Tobin's Q," NBER Working Papers 16336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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