Accruals, Cash Flows and the Post-Earnings-Announcement Drift
London Business School
January 4, 2005
Several prior studies have shown that cash flows have significantly greater impact on stock prices than accruals. We examine the implications of these findings for the post-earnings-announcement-drift anomaly. We argue that, if investors under-react to earnings news, then the larger price impact of cash flows causes the cash flow component of earnings news to predict future returns better than the accruals component. Consistent with this argument, we show that unexpected cash flows are more positively related to future returns, than are unexpected accruals. Also, unexpected cash flows are found to predict future returns above and beyond that predicted by earnings surprises. Finally, we show that a strategy that decomposes earnings news into its components significantly outperforms strategies based on earnings news alone. The results support under-reaction explanations for the drift.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: accruals, cash flows, post-earnings-announcement drift, earnings momentum
JEL Classification: G14, M41, M43working papers series
Date posted: February 2, 2005
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