Using a battery of look-ahead-bias free measures of accruals quality (AQ), we find a strong and long-lasting negative relation between future returns and AQ. In decile portfolios that rank on AQ, a hedge portfolio that goes long in the lowest decile and short in the highest decile generates an annualized, risk-adjusted return of 4–12 % over 1-month to 5-year horizons, depending on the AQ measure and the portfolio weighting scheme. The return premiums associated with AQ are, (1) robust to a wide range of AQ measures, (2) robust to a battery of return-informative variables, and (3) not driven by low-priced or small stocks, earnings shocks, or the fourth-quarter effect. The documented premiums are consistent with the information uncertainty effect where firm uncertainty is negatively related to future returns .
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 30, 2015
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