Geographic Earnings Disclosure and Trading Volume
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management
Wayne B. Thomas
University of Oklahoma - Michael F. Price College of Business
Glyn J. Winterbotham
Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Forthcoming
Beginning with Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 131 (SFAS 131), Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information, most U.S. multinational firms no longer disclose geographic earnings in their annual reports. Given the recent growth in foreign operations of U.S. firms and the varying operating environments around the world, information (or lack thereof) related to geographical performance can affect investors' information set. Using empirical tests that closely follow the Kim and Verrecchia (1997) model, we find results consistent with their predictions. Specifically, using a sample of firms with substantial foreign operations, we find evidence of a decrease in event-period private information following adoption of SFAS 131 for firms that no longer disclose geographic earnings. These results suggest that decreased public information (i.e., non-disclosure of geographic earnings) reduces the ability of investors to utilize or generate private information in conjunction with the public announcement of quarterly earnings, which dampens trading. We also find evidence of a decrease in pre-announcement private information following adoption of SFAS 131. This is consistent with an overall improvement in public disclosures that has the effect of reducing differences in the precision of private information across investors in the period prior to the earnings announcement. However, such an effect is observed for both firms which no longer disclose geographic earnings and for firms that continue to disclose geographic earnings.
Keywords: Trading volume, private information, economic theory, segment disclosure, geographic earnings, SFAS 131
JEL Classification: D82, G34, M41, M44, M45
Date posted: June 10, 2008
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