The Stock Market Valuation of Research and Development Expenditures

46 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2000 Last revised: 13 Oct 2010

See all articles by Louis K.C. Chan

Louis K.C. Chan

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance

Josef Lakonishok

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Theodore Sougiannis

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Accountancy

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1999

Abstract

We examine whether stock prices fully reflect the value of firms' intangible assets, focusing on research and development (R&D). Since intangible assets are not reported on financial statements under current U.S. accounting standards and R&D spending is expensed, the valuation problem may be especially challenging. Nonetheless we find that historically the stock returns of firms doing R&D on average matches the returns on firms with no R&D. For companies engaged in R&D, high R&D intensity has a distinctive effect on returns for two groups of stocks. Within the set of growth stocks, R&D-intensive stocks tend to out-perform stocks with little or no R&D. Companies with high R&D relative to equity market value (who tend to have poor past returns) show strong signs of mis-pricing. In both cases the market apparently fails to give sufficient credit for firms' R&D investments. Our exploratory investigation of the effects of advertising on returns yields similar results. We also provide evidence that R&D intensity is positively associated with return volatility, everything else equal. Insofar as the association reflects investors' lack of information about firms' R&D activity, increased accounting disclosure may be beneficial.

Suggested Citation

Chan, Louis K.C. and Lakonishok, Josef and Sougiannis, Theodore, The Stock Market Valuation of Research and Development Expenditures (July 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w7223. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=227564

Louis K.C. Chan (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-6391 (Phone)
217-244-3102 (Fax)

Josef Lakonishok

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-7185 (Phone)
217-244-3102 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Theodore Sougiannis

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Accountancy ( email )

360 Wohlers Hall
1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-244-0555 (Phone)
217-244-0902 (Fax)

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