Understanding the Variation in the Information Content of Earnings: A Return Decomposition Analysis
Charles A. Dice Center Working Paper No. 2015-01
42 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2015
Date Written: January 12, 2015
We use the Campbell (1991) return decomposition framework to reexamine the variation in the information content of earnings between profit firms and loss firms and over time. We show that current earnings surprises are more strongly correlated with the discount rate news component of returns for loss firms and in the recent period. This stronger correlation offsets the positive relation between current earnings surprises and the earnings news component of returns, causing the overall earnings-return relation to be weaker for loss firms and during the recent period. Consistent with these findings, we also find that discount rate news is a more important driver of the return variation of loss firms and in the recent period. Our results highlight the importance of time-varying discount rates for understanding the information content of earnings.
Keywords: Earnings, Information Content, Return Decomposition, Discount Rate News
JEL Classification: G12, G14, M41
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