Accounting Dissertations – Accrual Anomaly Market

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Sloan (1996), in a determinative paper, added the accrual anomaly in the list of the market imperfections. Since then, academics have focused on the empirical investigation of the anomaly and the connection it has with other misspricing phenomena. The accrual anomaly is still at an embryonic stage and further research is needed to confirm the profitability of an accruals based strategy net of transaction costs.

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The current study investigates the accrual anomaly while taking into consideration a UK sample from 1991 to 2008. In addition, the predictive power of the Fama and French (1996) factors HML and SMB is being tested along with the industrial production growth, the dividend yield and the term structure of the interest rates.

Chapter 1

Introduction

Since the introduction of the random walk theory which formed the basis for the evolvement of the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH hereafter) proposed by Fama (1965), the financial literature has made many advances but a piece of the puzzle that is still missing is whether the EMH holds. Undoubtedly, the aforementioned debate can be considered as one of the most fruitful and fast progressing financial debates of the last two decades.

The Efficient Market Hypothesis has met many challenges regardless of which of its three forms are being investigated. However, the weak form and semi strong hypothesis have been the most controversial. A literally vast collection of academic papers discuss, explore and argue for phenomena that seem to reject that the financial markets are efficient.

The famous label of “anomaly” has taken several forms. Many well-known anomalies such as the contrarian investment, the post announcement drift, the accruals anomaly and many others are just the beginning of an endless trip. There is absolutely no doubt that many more are going to be introduced and evidence for the ability for the investors to earn abnormal returns will be documented.

Recently, academics try to expand their investigation on whether these well-documented anomalies are actually profitable due to several limitations (transaction costs etc) and whether the anomalies are connected. Many papers are exploring the connection of the anomalies with each other proposing the existence of a “principal” misspricing that is documented into several forms.

The current study tries to look into the anomaly that was initially documented by Sloan (1996) and has been labelled as the “accrual anomaly”. The accrual anomaly can be characterised as being at an embryonic stage if the basis for comparison is the amount of publications and the dimensions of the anomaly that light has been shed on.

The facts for the accrual anomaly suggest the existence of the opportunity for investors to earn abnormal returns by taking advantage of simple publicly available information. On the other hand,

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