Stock Market and Investment: The Signaling Role of the Market
56 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: May 1996
The author examines the role of the stock market as a signal to managers in undertaking capital expenditures. He concludes that while both managerial and market perceptions are integral, managerial perception is of greater importance. The evidence suggests that, as a statistic, the Q ratio is not sufficient to explain firms' capital expenditure decisions. Thus, the standard Q model of investment should be modified to provide a more meaningful description of a firm's capital spending decisions. Overall, the results suggest that stock market activity has only limited implications for the economy's resource allocation process. Evidence for the Q theory of investment confirms previous findings in the literature that the model's poor empirical perfomance was partly the result of using aggregate data for the whole economy. Also, since market perception plays only a limited role in determining capital expenditures, shareholder myopia is unlikely to result in managerial myopia. The implications for developing countries are: While the stock market may not be central to a firm's capital spending decisions, it is not a sideshow either. The market plays an important signaling role for managers. This is a powerful rationale for financial reform and capital development in developing countries. The results also suggest that complaints that stock market activity leads to misallocation of resources may be exaggerated.
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