The impact on share prices of reporting financial targets and constraints

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This thesis examines the impact on share prices of voluntary reporting of financial targets and constraints, particularly the target rate of return, target dividend payout ratio and target debt ratio. Hypotheses developed about of this reporting are that a positive impact on in estimation risk the potential share price impact there will be share prices through a reduction an increase in the dispersion of share price changes owing to a revision of expectations a positive impact on share prices owing to a signalling effect. The hypotheses are tested by examining share price behaviour accompanying the voluntary reporting of financial targets and constraints over the period 1974 to 1982 by thirty-four companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. This is an event study, in which the event is defined as the first occasion on which a company reports the specified financial targets and constraints. To test for a positive impact on share prices, weekly excess returns are calculated using the market model. To test for an increase in the dispersion of share price changes, weekly variability ratios are calculated which provide a measure of returns in the event week relative to the average variability of returns in the estimation period. The controls applied in this study to demonstrate the link between the event and the share price impact are the market model, diversification of calendar dates and two control groups. The results of the study reveal a positive impact on share prices when companies first report financial targets and constraints. This is consistent with all three hypotheses. As this form of voluntary reporting has not previously been tested in this way, the results should be of interest to financial managers and to those concerned with the regulation of financial reporting in South Africa.

Bibliography: pages 261-272.