Firm Complexity and Post-Earnings-Announcement Drift
52 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2019 Last revised: 2 Dec 2019
Date Written: October 29, 2019
We show that the post earnings announcement drift (PEAD) is stronger for conglomerates than single-segment firms. Conglomerates, on average, are larger than single segment firms, so it is unlikely that limits-to-arbitrage drive the difference in PEAD. Rather, we hypothesize that market participants find it more costly and difficult to understand firm-specific earnings information regarding conglomerates as they have more complicated business models than single-segment firms. This in turn slows information processing about them. In support of our hypothesis, we find that, compared to single-segment firms with similar firm characteristics, conglomerates have relatively low institutional ownership and short interest, are covered by fewer analysts, these analysts have less industry expertise and also make larger forecast errors. Finally, we find that an increase in organizational complexity leads to larger PEAD and document that more complicated conglomerates have even greater PEAD. Our results are robust to a long list of alternative explanations of PEAD as well as alternative measures of firm complexity.
Keywords: organizational complexity, post-earnings-announcement drift, conglomerates, complicated firms
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G14, G32, G33, M4, L14, D82
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