Firm Strategy and Market Reaction to Earnings

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We examine whether a firm's strategy affects the information content of the firm's earnings announcement. A cost leadership strategy is characterized by low sales margins coupled with large sales volumes, economies of scale and major investments in plant and physical assets, whereas a differentiation strategy involves high sales margins achieved through product quality and branding realized by investments in intangibles such as R&D and advertising. These characteristics of the strategies result in differential impact on investor reactions to new information that is revealed about firms. Our results show that firms pursuing a cost leadership strategy have earnings announcements that are more commonly interpreted and result in a greater change in the average belief about stock price. On the other hand, earnings announcements of firms pursuing a differentiation strategy result in more heterogeneous interpretation accompanied by a smaller change in the average belief about stock price. This paper advances our understanding of the cross-sectional variation in the market's reaction to earnings announcements. In addition, the paper demonstrates a predictable instance of divergence in the price reaction and trading volume reaction to an earnings announcement. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

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Advances in Accounting



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