This study hypothesizes that because shareholders have a liquidation option, losses are not expected to perpetuate. They are thus less informative than profits about the firm's future prospects. The results are consistent with the hypothesis. They also show that the documented increase in the earnings response coefficent as the cumulation period increases appears to be due exclusively to the effect of losses. The liquidation option effect extends to profitable cases where earnings are low enough to make the option attractive. Alternating explanations for the low informativeness of losses such as mean reversal of earnings are not supported by the tests.
Journal of Accounting and Economics – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 1995
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