Changes in Cash: Persistence and Pricing Implications

Posted: 11 Sep 2014

See all articles by Jeff Zeyun Chen

Jeff Zeyun Chen

Texas Christian University

Philip B. Shane

College of William & Mary; Monash University; Monash University - Department of Accounting

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 1, 2014

Abstract

This paper decomposes the cash component of earnings and analyzes persistence characteristics and pricing implications of various subcomponents, with particular attention to changes in cash. Changes in underlying fundamentals might dictate changes in cash to new optimal levels. Alternatively, suboptimal changes in cash might result from agency costs allowing managers’ actions to diverge from the best interests of shareholders. We predict and find that both suboptimal increases and decreases in cash bode poorly for future earnings. In fact, we find that suboptimal increases (decreases) in cash have less (greater) persistence than any of the earnings components we study, including accruals and net distributions to both shareholders and debt holders. Market efficiency tests indicate that the market severely punishes firms with suboptimal decreases in cash, but we find no evidence to support the hubris hypothesis that the market overreacts to the earnings implications of unwarranted increases in cash.

Keywords: Earnings persistence; Free cash flow; Fundamentals-driven changes in cash; Suboptimal cash build-up; Suboptimal cash reduction; Market efficiency with respect to changes in cash

JEL Classification: M41; G14

Suggested Citation

Chen, Jeff Zeyun and Shane, Philip B., Changes in Cash: Persistence and Pricing Implications (June 1, 2014). Journal of Accounting Research, Vol. 52, No. 3, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2493853

Jeff Zeyun Chen

Texas Christian University ( email )

2900 Lubbock Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76109
United States

Philip B. Shane (Contact Author)

College of William & Mary ( email )

P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Monash University - Department of Accounting ( email )

H3.43, Building H, Level 3
Monash University Caulfiled
Melbourne, VIC 3145
Australia

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