Stock Dividends, Stock Splits, and Signaling

Stock Dividends, Stock Splits, and Signaling

By
Maureen McNichols, Ajay Dravid
Th Journal of Finance. July
1990, Vol. 45, Issue 3, Pages 857-879

¬†This paper provides evidence that firms signal their private information about future earnings by their choice of split factor. Split factors are increasing in earnings forecast errors, after controlling for differences in pre-split price and firm size. Furthermore, price changes at stock dividend and split announcements are significantly correlated with split factors, holding other factors constant, and with earnings forecast errors. These correlations suggest that management’s choice of split factor signals private information about future earnings and that investors revise their beliefs about firm value accordingly. The analysis also suggests, however, that announcement returns are significantly correlated with split factors after controlling for earnings forecast errors. This suggests that earnings forecast errors measure management’s private information about future earnings with error, that split factors signal other valuation-relevant attributes, or that a’signaling explanation is incomplete.