Investigation into the share price reaction to unexpected changes in cash dividends : empirical study on companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.
Dividends are probable the most controversial subject in the finance literature. Dividends are paid cent for cent from company profits. Besides having tax implications on the company, they reduce sources of internal finance for the company. On the other hand, the value of a company is the net present value of cash flows. Theoretically a company that does not pay dividends now and at anytime in the future has a value of zero. Companies have dividend policies applicable to themselves. It is therefore valid to argue that the revision of the dividend policy has an underlying reason. This study was done to investigate the effect of unexpected dividend policy changes to daily share price movement. This study seeks to establish the validity of the much-debated subject of information significance of dividends. Past studies at most failed to converge to an agreement on information significance of dividends. The investigation revealed that there were no significant abnórmal returns earned on the announcement date on three out of four instances. However the results of the cumulative abnormal returns revealed that share prices react to dividend changes during the period of investigation i.e. twenty days before and twenty days after the announcement. The overall adjustment in share prices over the period studied is in the same direction as the dividend charge. The investigation also revealed that price adjustments take place before and after the announcement date. Price adjustments on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange were not efficient as compared to adjustments on the New York Stock Exchange. Share price adjustments on the New York Stock Exchange took place during the period of a day before and a day after the announcement. The lack of similarity can be attributed to either sophistication of the market participants or efficiency of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.