Is Institutional Ownership Associated with Earnings Management and the Extent to Which Stock Prices Reflect Future Earnings?
32 Pages Posted: 17 May 1999
Date Written: March 1999
Articles in the financial press suggest that institutional investors are overly focused on short-term profitability leading mangers to manipulate earnings fearing that a short-term profit disappointment will lead institutions to liquidate their holdings. This paper shows, however, that the absolute value of discretionary accruals declines with institutional ownership. The result is consistent with managers recognizing that institutional owners are better informed than individual investors, which reduces the perceived benefit of managing accruals. We also find that as institutional ownership increases, stock prices tend to reflect a greater proportion of the information in future earnings relative to current earnings. This result is consistent with institutional investors looking beyond current earnings compared to individual investors. Collectively, the results offer strong evidence that managers do not manipulate earnings due to pressure from institutional investors who are overly focused on short-term profitability.
JEL Classification: M41, M43, G29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation