Why is the Accrual Anomaly Not Arbitraged Away?
42 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2004
Sloan (1996) and several follow up papers show that the stock market behaves as though it cannot understand the implications of accruals for future earnings. We propose and find evidence consistent with the hypothesis that risk-averse arbitrageurs are unable to eliminate accrual related mispricing because individual stocks in the extreme accrual deciles do not have close substitutes. Note that the textbook theory of arbitrage is predicated on the ability of the arbitrageur to find perfect substitutes for mispriced stocks. Our results suggest that arbitrage risk impedes arbitrageurs from eliminating accrual mispricing.
Keywords: Accrual anomaly, arbitrage risk
JEL Classification: G12, G14, M41, M43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation