Accounting Dissertations – Accounting Finance Risk

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Financial theory describes risk assessment as one of the most important part in an investment decision making process. However, for a risk to be known, it is important for investors to interpret information flowing on the market. This study aims to examine the association between accounting information and the market risk over time. It also evaluates how far the beta value and accounting variables can be useful for investors in Mauritius.

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Beta estimates are calculated using Capital asset pricing model and accounting risk variables are derived from theoretical foundations and prior empirical findings. The relationship between the financial ratios and the level of systematic risk is obtained by regressing the variation in the beta against changes in the accounting variable.

The empirical evidence shows that beta is valid on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM). However, the power of beta is relatively low in capturing the systematic risk. This finding is in line with Campbell (1995) who obtained similar observation for emerging equity market and with Bundoo (2000) who noted same result. Finally the result shows that a strong association exist between accounting variables and market risk and it also observed that this relationship is consistent over time. Accounting variables like growth rate, debt ratio, asset size, liquidity, profit margin and accounting beta are able to capture market risk where beta generally provides a high explanatory power of systematic risk. The findings contradict the some of the association between the market risk measures and accounting risk measure obtained Beaver et al (1979). 

1 Introduction

The growth experienced in the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) during the years 1989 to 2007 was with no precedence. Stock prices of quoted companies on the SEM boomed, causing a high influx of capital which caused the market to rise to its peak with a net market capitalisation of MUR 173 billion in the end of the financial year 2007. Local investors who had investments in fixed deposits from local commercial banks shifted some of their investments to the SEM, with view of higher return. But Stock prices started to fall soon after the end of the month of February 2008 and within a year the SEMDEX reached a position which was a low as the values experienced in September 2006.

While this fall was largely attributed to the morose international situation, as a result of the international financial crisis; there is also the question whether the SEM effectively capture risk which is inherent by companies quoted and how far investors in Mauritius used the publish financial information to evaluate and predict the level of risk in the operating environment.

Financial markets serve a key purpose in an economy by allocating productive resources among various areas so as to enable an efficient resource allocation,

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