The accrual anomoly: Australian evidence

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Conference Proceeding
2007 AFAANZ Conference, 2007, pp. 1 - 37
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This paper investigates whether the accrual anomaly identified by Sloan (1996), whereby investors overestimate the impact of accruals on the persistence of earnings exists within an Australian context. While there is general support for the existence of the anomaly in Australia there are a number of idiosyncrasies in the results. First, there is evidence that in Australia investors underestimate the persistence of earnings. Second, there are greater errors in assessing the impact of cash flows on the persistence of earnings than accruals (i.e., a cash flow anomaly rather than an accruals anomaly). Third, returns to the hedged portfolio trading strategy are increasing over the three year period subsequent to portfolio formation. Analysis of these results indicates that they are primarily attributable to a limited number of firm year observations in the extreme positive tail of returns. Additionally, a range of sensitivity tests were undertaken to address the robustness of these results.
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