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Who, if Anyone, Reacts to Accrual Information?

Authors: Battalio, Robert H.
Lerman, Alina
Livnat, Joshua
Mendenhall, Richard R.
Keywords: Anomalies;Accruals;Earnings;Market efficiency
Issue Date: 26-Jan-2007
Series/Report no.: Joshua Livnat-06
Abstract: We confirm and extend prior research that suggests accrual levels predict future returns, even after controlling for earnings surprise. We then document abnormal buying behavior around 10-K/Q filing dates that correlates with accrual level. Specifically, we extend Collins and Hribar (2000) by showing that the accrual anomaly persists for a sample of firms followed by analysts after controlling for analyst earnings forecast errors and using exact 10-K/Q filing dates. We then show that large traders, those who initiate trades of at least 5,000 shares, tend to trade in the correct direction in response to accrual information released in SEC filings after preliminary earnings. This tendency is limited, however, to cases where earnings conveyed favorable news initially. Investors who use accrual information apparently ignore stocks whose earnings convey unfavorable news or believe that accrual level is not informative for these firms. We also provide some evidence that the smallest traders react to accrual information, but in the wrong direction.
Appears in Collections:Accounting Working Papers

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