Do Price Discreteness and Transactions Costs Affect Stock Returns? Comparing Ex-Dividend Pricing Before and after Decimalization
45 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2002
Date Written: January 15, 2003
By the end of January 2001, all NYSE stocks had converted their price quotations from 1/8ths and 1/16ths to decimals. This study examines the effect of this change in price quotations on ex-dividend day activity. We find that abnormal ex-dividend day returns increase in the 1/16th and decimal pricing eras, relative to the 1/8thera, which is inconsistent with microstructure explanations of the ex-day price movements. We also find that abnormal returns increase in conjunction with a May 1997 reduction in the capital gains tax rate, as they should if relative taxation of dividends and capital gains affects ex-day pricing.
Keywords: Ex-dividend, transaction costs, taxes, decimalization
JEL Classification: H20, G35
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation