This paper tests the information efficiency of the Chinese stock market to judge if it contravenes the Fama (1965) efficient market hypothesis. Following China’s stock market reforms the market has grown in international importance, however many find information difficult to obtain and interpret.
The relative importance of earnings announcements is quantified using cross-sectional regressions of calendar-year annual returns R_i on returns in the four quarterly earnings announcement windows return R_j. The metric developed by Ball and Shivakumar (2008) and Basu et al. (2013) is used to determine the level of new information contained in earnings announcements.
Analysis reveals earnings announcements contain little new information of value, thus demonstrating the Chinese markets are not informationally efficient. Therefore, investors cannot automatically assume assets are always correctly priced, as they are in other established markets.
Major structural changes were made to Chinese equity markets in 2004, with the introduction of the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors scheme. At the same time, firms were required to make earnings announcements on a quarterly basis. This paper is the first to test the impact of these changes on the information value of earnings announcements since the changes.
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