Earnings volatility and the role of cash flows in the capital markets: Empirical evidence
Keywords:Transitory Earnings, Capital markets, Cash flows, Empirical.
The recent global financial crisis brought to the forefront of the capital markets the importance of firm fundamentals and especially, the valuation role of cash flows. In this study, we examine the role of earnings and cash flows in two major capital markets, namely, USA and France. We hypothesize that the relationship between cash flows and security returns improves when earnings are transitory and this robustness is country specific. The dataset consists of more than 37,000 USA and French firm-year observations over an eight-year period. Multivariate statistical regression analysis is undertaken to test the major research hypotheses. Results indicate that when earnings are transitory (unstable), investors pay more attention to cash flows and less attention to earnings, a result indicating that investors penalize firms with unstable earnings. In summary, the evidence provided in this study supports that there are substantial differences in the way investors and financial analysts perceive financial information such as earnings and cash flows in France and USA. These results should be of great importance to the major stakeholders such as investors, creditors, financial analysts, especially after the recent global financial crisis and the collapse of giant organizations worldwide.
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