Earnings Decomposition and the Persistence of Earnings

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Journal Article
Accounting Research Journal, 2007, 20 (2), pp. 111 - 127
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Forecasting future period profitability is widely identified as an aim of financial statement analysis, and these forecasts are typically relied upon for the estimation of firm value. To facilitate this, the decomposition of earnings into its components or drivers, is typically advocated. This paper investigates the existence of systematic differences in persistence across the components of earnings. If components of earnings experience differences in persistence, this may provide insights into the determinants of aggregate earnings level and persistence. This paper provides evidence of differences in persistence between components of earnings. Differences are found between components formed on the basis of: financial ratios; operating and financing activities; and cash and accruals. Furthermore, there is evidence that earnings components improve the explanatory power of models evaluating aggregate earnings persistence, with this result being strongest for firms with extreme income decreasing accruals. Due to the pivotal role of earnings in firm valuation, the results from this paper have direct implications for valuation. © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
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