Investment-Cash Flow Sensitivity: Fact or Fiction?

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Ağca, Ş. and A. Mozumdar (2017). "Investment–Cash Flow Sensitivity: Fact or Fiction?" Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 1111-1141.

We examine whether internal funds matter for investment when the measurement error in q is addressed. By carefully employing methodologies that tackle the measurement error in q, we show that cash flow is a significant determinant of investment. We also find that an analyst-forecast-based q measure is not superior to a stock-market-based q measure. We further propose an approach that uses two alternative proxies of q as instruments for addressing measurement error. Our evidence indicates that instrumental-variables-type generalized method of moments estimators yield empirically well-specified models

Bates, T. W. and D. A. Becher (2017). "Bid Resistance by Takeover Targets: Managerial Bargaining or Bad Faith?" Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 837-866.

This paper examines management’s motives for rejecting takeover bids and the associated shareholder wealth effects. We develop measures of initial bid quality and find a significant negative correlation between the quality of a bid and rejection. The likelihood of higher follow-on offers decreases with bid quality and is greater when targets have classified boards and chief executive officers (CEOs) with significant personal wealth tied to the transaction. Target CEOs who fail to close high-quality offers experience a significant rate of forced turnover. Overall, the results support a price improvement motive for contested bids.

Blake, D., et al. (2017). "New Evidence on Mutual Fund Performance: A Comparison of Alternative Bootstrap Methods." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 1279-1299.

We compare two bootstrap methods for assessing mutual fund performance. The first produces narrow confidence intervals due to pooling over time, whereas the second produces wider confidence intervals because it preserves the cross correlation of fund returns. We then show that the average U.K. equity mutual fund manager is unable to deliver outperformance net of fees under either bootstrap. Gross of fees, 95% of fund managers on the basis of the first bootstrap and all fund managers on the basis of the second bootstrap fail to outperform the luck distribution of gross returns.

Chen, Y., et al. (2017). "Hedge Funds: The Good, the Bad, and the Lucky." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 1081-1109.

We develop an estimation approach based on a modified expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm and a mixture of normal distributions associated with skill groups to assess performance in hedge funds. By allowing luck to affect both skilled and unskilled funds, we estimate the number of skill groups, the fraction of funds from each group, and the mean and variability of skill within each group. For each individual fund, we propose a performance measure combining the fund’s estimated alpha with the cross-sectional distribution of fund skill. In out-of-sample tests, an investment strategy using our performance measure outperforms those using estimated alpha and t-statistic.

Christoffersen, S. E. K. and H. Xu (2017). "Investor Attrition and Fund Flows in Mutual Funds." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 867-893.

We explore the properties of equity mutual funds that experience a loss of assets after poor performance. We document that both inflows and outflows are less sensitive to performance, because performance-sensitive investors leave or decide not to invest after bad performance. Consistent with the idea that attrition measures the sorting of performance-sensitive investors, we find that attrition has less of an impact on the fund’s flow–performance sensitivity for institutional funds where there is less dispersion in investor performance sensitivity. Also, attrition has no effect on the flow–performance sensitivity when attrition arises after good performance or investors invest for nonperformance reasons.

Ghosh, C. and F. He (2017). "The Diminishing Benefits of U.S. Cross-Listing: Economic Consequences of SEC Rule 12h-6." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 1143-1181.

On Mar. 21, 2007, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) passed Exchange Act Rule 12h-6 to make it easier for cross-listed firms to deregister from the U.S. market and escape its regulatory costs. Using difference-in-difference (DD) tests, we find that, on average, Rule 12h-6’s passage induced an increase in voting premium, a decline in equity raising, and a decline in cross-listing premium. These effects are observed for exchange-listed firms and for firms from countries with weak investor protection. We conclude that although cross-listed firms are still valued at a significant premium over non-cross-listed firms, the rule decreased the value of commitment to the U.S. regulatory system.

Hasan, I., et al. (2017). "Social Capital and Debt Contracting: Evidence from Bank Loans and Public Bonds." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 1017-1047.

We find that firms headquartered in U.S. counties with higher levels of social capital incur lower bank loan spreads. This finding is robust to using organ donation as an alternative social capital measure and incremental to the effects of religiosity, corporate social responsibility, and tax avoidance. We identify the causal relation using companies with a social-capital-changing headquarters relocation. We also find that high-social-capital firms face loosened nonprice loan terms, incur lower at-issue bond spreads, and prefer public bonds over bank loans. We conclude that debt holders perceive social capital as providing environmental pressure that constrains opportunistic firm behaviors in debt contracting.

Inci, A. C., et al. (2017). "Gender Differences in Executives’ Access to Information." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 991-1016.

We provide novel evidence on gender differences in insider-trading behavior and the profitability of senior corporate executives. On average, both female and male executives make positive profits from insider trading. Males, however, earn significantly more than females in equivalent positions and also trade more than females. These gender differences disappear when we limit the sample to firms in which female trading is relatively high. Collectively, these results suggest that female executives have a disadvantage relative to males in access to inside information, even if they have equal formal status, and informal networks may play an important role in attenuating this disadvantage.

Li, O. Z., et al. (2017). "Individual Investors’ Dividend Taxes and Corporate Payout Policies." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 963-990.

The 2012 Dividend Tax Reform in China ties individual investors’ dividend tax rates to the length of their shareholding period. We find that firms facing a reduction (increase) in their individual investors’ dividend tax rates are more (less) likely to increase dividend payout. Such an effect is concentrated in firms where incentives of controlling shareholders and minority shareholders are aligned. Furthermore, investors respond to this tax law change by reducing trading activities before the cum-dividend day and successfully lower their dividend tax penalty. Overall, our evidence enhances the notion that individual investors’ tax profiles shape firms’ payout policies.

Maio, P. and P. Santa-Clara (2017). "Short-Term Interest Rates and Stock Market Anomalies." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 927-961.

We present a simple 2-factor model that helps explain several capital asset pricing model (CAPM) anomalies (value premium, return reversal, equity duration, asset growth, and inventory growth). The model is consistent with Merton’s intertemporal CAPM (ICAPM) framework, and the key risk factor is the innovation on a short-term interest rate, the federal funds rate, or the T-bill rate. This model explains a large fraction of the dispersion in the average returns of the joint market anomalies. Moreover, the model compares favorably with alternative multifactor models widely used in the literature. Hence, short-term interest rates seem to be relevant for explaining several dimensions of cross-sectional equity risk premia.

Meneghetti, C. and R. Williams (2017). "Fortune Favors the Bold." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 895-925.

We investigate whether incentives to join the Fortune 500 affect corporate decisions. Firms closer to the cutoff appear to take actions to join the list by engaging in more mergers and acquisitions activity, bidding for larger targets, and paying higher takeover premia. Further, the relation is stronger for firms with more-entrenched chief executive officers, and the stock market reaction to bids is worse when bidders are close to the Fortune 500’s cutoff. A 1994 methodological change by Fortune acts as an exogenous shock for identification. Our results suggest that firms try to increase revenues to join the Fortune 500 but that such actions adversely affect shareholders.

Michaelides, A. and Y. Zhang (2017). "Stock Market Mean Reversion and Portfolio Choice over the Life Cycle." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 1183-1209.

We solve for optimal consumption and portfolio choice in a life-cycle model with short-sales and borrowing constraints; undiversifiable labor income risk; and a predictable, time-varying, equity premium and show that the investor pursues aggressive market timing strategies. Importantly, in the presence of stock market predictability, the model suggests that the conventional financial advice of reducing stock market exposure as retirement approaches is correct on average, but ignoring changing market information can lead to substantial welfare losses. Therefore, enhanced target-date funds (ETDFs) that condition on expected equity premia increase welfare relative to target-date funds (TDFs). Out-of-sample analysis supports these conclusions.

Moallemi, C. C. and M. Sağlam (2017). "Dynamic Portfolio Choice with Linear Rebalancing Rules." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 1247-1278.

We consider a broad class of dynamic portfolio optimization problems that allow for complex models of return predictability, transaction costs, trading constraints, and risk considerations. Determining an optimal policy in this general setting is almost always intractable. We propose a class of linear rebalancing rules and describe an efficient computational procedure to optimize with this class. We illustrate this method in the context of portfolio execution and show that it achieves near optimal performance. We consider another numerical example involving dynamic trading with mean-variance preferences and demonstrate that our method can result in economically large benefits.

Traczynski, J. (2017). "Firm Default Prediction: A Bayesian Model-Averaging Approach." Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 1211-1245.

I develop a new predictive approach using Bayesian model averaging to account for incomplete knowledge of the true model behind corporate default and bankruptcy filing. I find that uncertainty over the correct model is empirically large, with far fewer variables being significant predictors of default compared with conventional approaches. Only the ratio of total liabilities to total assets and the volatility of market returns are robust default predictors in the overall sample and individual industry groups. Model-averaged forecasts that aggregate information across models or allow for industry-specific effects substantially outperform individual models.

Tykvová, T. (2017). "When and Why Do Venture-Capital-Backed Companies Obtain Venture Lending?" Journal of Financial & Quantitative Analysis 52(3): 1049-1080.

I model the decision of an informed early-stage venture capital (VC) investor that considers involving an uninformed VC or venture lending (VL) investor to finance the late stage. Early-stage VC investors that own high-quality value companies tend to signal their quality and they frequently turn to VL investors. Early-stage VC investors prefer VC if the proportion of high-quality companies in the population is high, if their companies have a high upside potential, if they can benefit from the value that late-stage VC investors add, or if uncertainty is high. I find empirical evidence consistent with these predictions.

Antoniou, C., et al. (2017). "Information Characteristics and Errors in Expectations: Experimental Evidence." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 737-750.

We design an experiment to test the hypothesis that, in violation of Bayes’ rule, some people respond more forcefully to the strength of information than to its weight. We provide incentives to motivate effort, use naturally occurring information, and control for risk attitude. We find that the strength–weight bias affects expectations but that its magnitude is significantly lower than originally reported. Controls for nonlinear utility further reduce the bias. Our results suggest that incentive compatibility and controls for risk attitude considerably affect inferences on errors in expectations.

Aslan, H. and P. Kumar (2017). "Stapled Financing, Value Certification, and Lending Efficiency." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 677-703.

We examine whether financing commitments from a target firm’s financial advisor, in the form of stapled financing, provide certification of target value. Using a data set of leveraged buyouts spanning 2002–2011, and addressing endogeneity issues, we find that stapled financing has significant positive effects on sellers’ shareholder wealth, especially for targets suffering from greater adverse selection. Stapled financing facilitates deal financing by allowing buyers to obtain lower-cost and longer-maturity debt, and it is positively associated with bidding intensity. Investment banks offering stapled financing appear to trade off higher expected advisory fees against loss of lending efficiency ex post.

Bargeron, L., et al. (2017). "The Timing and Source of Long-Run Returns Following Repurchases." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 491-517.

This paper investigates the timing and source of anomalous positive long-run abnormal returns following repurchase authorizations. Returns between program authorization and completion announcements are indistinguishable from 0. Abnormal returns occur only after completion announcements. Long-run returns are largely attributable to announcement returns at subsequent authorizations and takeover attempts; that is, anomalous post-authorization returns are not persistent drifts but rather step functions. These findings have important implications for prior papers examining this most persistent and widespread anomaly. Further, our results serve to refocus the search for a rational explanation for the anomaly on subsequent repurchase announcements and takeover bids.

Burns, N., et al. (2017). "CEO Tournaments: A Cross-Country Analysis of Causes, Cultural Influences, and Consequences." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 519-551.

Using a cross-country sample, we examine the chief executive officer (CEO) tournament structure (measured alternatively as the ratio and the difference of pay between the CEO and other top executives within a firm). We find the tournament structure to vary systematically with firm and country cultural characteristics. In particular, firm size and the cultural values of power distance, fair income differences, and competition are significantly associated with variations in tournament structures. We also establish support for the primary implication of tournament theory in that tournament structure tends to be positively related to firm value, even after controlling for endogeneity.

Cao, J., et al. (2017). "Institutional Investment Constraints and Stock Prices." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 465-489.

We test the hypothesis that investment constraints in delegated portfolio management may distort demand for stocks, leading to price underreaction to news and stock return predictability. We find that institutions tend not to buy more of a stock with good news that they already overweight; they are reluctant to sell a stock with bad news that they already underweight. Stocks with good news overweighted by institutions subsequently significantly outperform stocks with bad news underweighted by institutions. The impact of institutional investment constraints sheds new light on asset pricing anomalies such as stock price momentum and post–earnings announcement drift.

Ertugrul, M., et al. (2017). "Annual Report Readability, Tone Ambiguity, and the Cost of Borrowing." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 811-836.

This paper investigates the impact of a firm’s annual report readability and ambiguous tone on its borrowing costs. We find that firms with larger 10-K file sizes and a higher proportion of uncertain and weak modal words in 10-Ks have stricter loan contract terms and greater future stock price crash risk. Our results suggest that the readability and tone ambiguity of a firm’s financial disclosures are related to managerial information hoarding. Shareholders of firms with less readable and more ambiguous annual reports not only suffer from less transparent information disclosure but also bear the increased cost of external financing.

Gao, H., et al. (2017). "CEO Turnover–Performance Sensitivity in Private Firms." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 583-611.

We compare chief executive officer (CEO) turnover in public and large private firms. Public firms have higher turnover rates and exhibit greater turnover–performance sensitivity (TPS) than private firms. When we control for pre-turnover performance, performance improvements are greater for private firms than for public firms. We investigate whether these differences are due to differences in quality of accounting information, the CEO candidate pool, CEO power, board structure, ownership structure, investor horizon, or certain unobservable differences between public and private firms. One factor contributing to public firms’ higher turnover rates and greater TPS appears to be investor myopia.

Gharghori, P., et al. (2017). "Informed Trading around Stock Split Announcements: Evidence from the Option Market." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 705-735.

Prior research shows that splitting firms earn positive abnormal returns and that they experience an increase in stock return volatility. By examining option-implied volatility, we assess option traders’ perceptions on return and volatility changes arising from stock splits. We find that they do expect higher volatility following splits. There is only weak evidence, though, of option traders anticipating an abnormal increase in stock prices. We also show that our option measures can predict both stock volatility levels and changes after the announcement. However, there is little evidence that they can predict the returns of splitting firms.

Huang, D. and G. Zhou (2017). "Upper Bounds on Return Predictability." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 401-425.

Can the degree of predictability found in data be explained by existing asset pricing models? We provide two theoretical upper bounds on the R 2 of predictive regressions. Using data on the market portfolio and component portfolios, we find that the empirical R 2s are significantly greater than the theoretical upper bounds. Our results suggest that the most promising direction for future research should aim to identify new state variables that are highly correlated with stock returns instead of seeking more elaborate stochastic discount factors.

Huang, Q., et al. (2017). "The Effect of Labor Unions on CEO Compensation." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 553-582.

We find evidence that labor unions affect chief executive officer (CEO) compensation. First, we find that firms with strong unions pay their CEOs less. The negative effect is robust to various tests for endogeneity, including cross-sectional variations and a regression discontinuity design. Second, we find that CEO compensation is curbed before union contract negotiations, especially when the compensation is discretionary and the unions have a strong bargaining position. Third, we report that curbing CEO compensation mitigates the chance of a labor strike, thus providing a rationale for firms to pay CEOs less when facing strong unions.

Levi, Y. and I. Welch (2017). "Best Practice for Cost-of-Capital Estimates." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 427-463.

Cost-of-capital assessments with factor models require quantitative forward-looking estimates. We recommend estimating Vasicek-shrunk betas with 1–4 years of daily stock returns and then shrinking betas a second time (and more for smaller stocks and longer-term projects), because the underlying betas are themselves time-varying. Such estimators also work well in other developed countries and for small-minus-big (SMB) and high-minus-low (HML) exposures. If own historical stock returns are not available, peer betas based on market cap should be used. Historical industry averages have almost no predictive power and should never be used.

Nguyen, N. H. and H. V. Phan (2017). "Policy Uncertainty and Mergers and Acquisitions." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 613-644.

This research examines the relationship between policy uncertainty and mergers and acquisitions (M&As). We find that policy uncertainty is negatively related to firm acquisitiveness and positively related to the time it takes to complete M&A deals. In addition, policy uncertainty motivates acquirers to use stock for payment and to pay lower bid premiums. Acquirers, on average, create larger shareholder value from M&A deals undertaken during periods of high policy uncertainty, which is attributable to their prudence as well as the wealth transfer from the financially constrained targets to acquirers.

Oh, N. Y., et al. (2017). "Should Indirect Brokerage Fees Be Capped? Lessons from Mutual Fund Marketing and Distribution Expenses." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 781-809.

Theory predicts that capping brokers’ compensation exacerbates the exploitation of retail investors. We show that regulated caps on mutual fund 12b-1 fees, effectively sales commissions, are associated with negative equity fund performance, but only after a structural shift toward maximum permitted levels of the fees around 2000. Past this break point, flow–performance sensitivity shifts from the middle- to the highest-performing funds, suggesting that the fee cap increases performance-chasing behavior by constraining brokers’ incentives to learn about lower-ranked funds. The policy implication is that regulators must reevaluate the efficacy of caps on brokerage fees.

Schwartz-Ziv, M. (2017). "Gender and Board Activeness: The Role of a Critical Mass." Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis 52(2): 751-780.

This study analyzes detailed minutes of board meetings of business companies in which the Israeli government holds a substantial equity interest. Boards with at least 3 directors of each gender are found to be at least 79% more active at board meetings than those without such representation. This phenomenon is driven by women directors in particular; they are more active when a critical mass of at least 3 women is in attendance. Gender-balanced boards are also more likely to replace underperforming chief executive officers (CEOs) and are particularly active during periods when CEOs are being replaced.

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