This chapter provides overview about the thesis topic that will be addressed. It also demonstrates the relevancy of the study and its need and purpose and defines its objectives. This chapter includes a preliminary literature review which helped in directing the research path.
Every equity investment decision must be based on solid grounds. This requires a substantive knowledge regarding investment methodologies, assessment tools, and a good sense of know-how. The academic side provides finance people with the technicalities and methods, such as the discounted dividends, discounted cash flow analysis, discounted abnormal earnings, discounted abnormal earnings growth, and price multiples (Palepu, Healy and Peek, 2010). Damodaran (2005) categorize equity valuation approaches to include discounted cash flow valuation, liquidation and accounting valuation, relative valuation and contingent claim valuation. Each approach generally will yield differing equity value based on the projections of its future returns and assumed risks, or based on its current and past performance (Penman, 2001). The choice of equity valuation method used will affect the assumed value of equity versus the asked price, thus affecting the decision of whether to invest or not. The ongoing debate in academic world about the superiority of one method over other presents mixed results. Jorgensen,Lee, and Yoo’s (2011) examination suggest that residual income valuation is more accurate than abnormal earnings growth model. On the other hand, Supattarakul and Khanthavit (2011) found that both dividend discount model and residual income model underestimate equity value. But in general, most academic literature describes dividend discounted model as the method of choice by finance professionals (Palepu et al, 2010).
Many researchers have inspected different facets of sell-side and buy-side analysts.Palepu et al (2010, p. 407) define sell-side analysts as “analysts at brokerage houses”, while they define buy-side analysts as “analysts that work at the direction of fund managers for various institutions”. Ashton and Cianci (2007) investigated the motivational and cognitive determinants of the earnings forecasts difference between the two types. Groysberg, Healy, and Chapman (2008) found that buy-side analysts provide less accurate and more optimistic forecasts. Analysts and investors are provided by the literature with many valuation methods to choose from. Foerster and Sapp(2011) advocate the use of Gordon Growth Model, while Supattarakul and Khanthavit(2011) suggest that dividend discount modelprovides more accurate valuation than the residual income model. Steiger(2008) advocates the use of Discounted Cash Flow methods (DCF), although warning of associated massive assumptions which can create bias and modify the value of equity. These articles, among others will provide the base for academic world preference of equity valuation methods. Most of the literature advocates the use of DCF methods. However, practitioners have different views (Bing, 1971, Dukes et al, 2006). Researchers have attempted to fill the gap between literature and finance practitioners of thechoice of equity valuation methods. Pereiro (n.d.) found that 73% of financial advisors and 50% of banks and insurance firms in Argentina use DCF methods, which are lower than the 100% preference in USA.
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