We investigate two hypotheses regarding the information content of dividend change announcements. The first is that the “importance” of information signaled by a dividend change depends on the reliability of earnings forecasts existing before the dividend announcement. The second hypothesis is that the stock price reaction to dividend change announcements is related to earnings forecast error as of the time of the dividend announcement. Our results reveal that dividend increases convey more information for firms in which financial analysts least accurately predict earnings. The results also indicate that dividend increase and decrease announcements provide market participants with information which, on average, allows them to differentiate between firms on the basis of future earnings realizations. These differential information effects are shown to be robust to price, size, dividend yield, and overinvestment effects.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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