Accounting Information, Capital Investment Decisions, and Equity Valuation: Theory and Empirical Implications
Posted: 3 Apr 1999
Date Written: November 1998
This paper combines the framework of Feltham/Ohlson (1996) with endogenous investment decisions to re-examine the role of book value and earnings for valuation. The paper recognizes that current accounting data contains information useful for guiding operating decisions, and operating activity is what underlies the generation of cash flows. By considering a firm's rational investment behavior, a connection is established between the current state of operation and the future cash flow stream. The valuation function derived within this setting exhibits some interesting properties. It is shown that equity value is an increasing and convex function of earnings for any given book value. On the other hand, for a given level of earnings, equity value can be either increasing in, insensitive to, or decreasing in book value, depending on a firm's operating efficiency and/or growth potential. The model further explains cross-sectional variations in the significance of earnings versus book value in value determination and the "anomalous" association between stock prices and negative earnings. The effect of conservatism on the properties of accounting-based valuation function is also examined. The theoretical predictions of the model are generally consistent with the evidence reported in empirical studies. Implications for empirical research design are discussed.
JEL Classification: G12, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation