Research in Finance: Volume 29


Table of contents

(13 chapters)

List of Contributors

Pages vii-viii
Content available

This chapter investigates whether earnings management activities increase the likelihood of receiving a qualified audit report. We have carried out this study with a sample of Spanish companies for the period 2001–2009. Previous research on the issue is not only scarce but also suffers from methodological pitfalls. In all cases, researchers have followed a matched sample approach without considering the implications of such approach for the statistical analysis. Despite its great popularity among researchers in accounting, the use of matched-based sampling is susceptible to produce technical errors in the statistical analysis. The main problem consists in the generalization of results obtained with a nonrandom sample to the whole population of firms. Our results do not show a significant relationship between EM and qualified audit reports. We have also addressed whether the international financial crisis has affected our results and concluded that Spanish companies seem to have used EM during the crisis to push down earnings, probably expecting to take advantage of the positive earnings surprises during the postcrisis period. Nevertheless, the financial crisis has not changed the nature of the EM-qualified opinions relationship.


Our chapter raises serious questions about the long-term efficiency of stock prices in relation to the realized returns of the underlying corporate real assets. In our large-scale calculations that cover horizons of 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 years, returns on corporate real assets suffer a long-term decline, and have been below the yields of 10-year Treasury bonds since 1973. Real assets that received more external financing from capital markets and institutions actually report even lower realized long-term returns. The decline in realized returns cannot be attributed to declining risks as the volatilities of realized returns have been increasing over time. These surprising results may stimulate fresh debate on the roles and long-term performance of capital markets and institutions.


The issue of risk premium in commodity futures market has long been examined since Keynes’ (1930) normal backwardation hypothesis. We further examine the normal backwardation hypothesis in the gold futures market, using a Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) approach. We find no evidence that risk premium exists in the gold futures market over the period 1980–2005. Finally, we provide further explanations as to why there is no risk premium in the gold futures market by investigating the actual gold futures positions taken by gold mining firms. We contend that lack of hedging activity by gold miners may explain the lack of risk premium in gold market.


This chapter explores the advantages (for large investors) of directly owning productive assets, compared with indirect ownership through stock in corporations. Significant factors are agency costs and recent changes in the tax and regulatory environment. Recent corporate scandals have led to legislative and regulatory responses that significantly increase the monitoring costs and other burdens of becoming or remaining a public corporation. As a result, there has been a substantial increase in going-private transactions, particularly among smaller public companies. Acquisitions and minority equity positions that allow large corporations to join with smaller companies have also increased. The pressures to go private are not entirely new, however. This chapter, reflecting collaboration by professors of finance and business law, traces the legal concept that the corporation is an entity separate and apart from its owners, showing how the legal status of corporations hinders resolution of conflicts among the parties to the enterprise. Thus, there have long been fundamental flaws inherent in the corporation as the form of organization for certain activities. The current wave of Sarbanes–Oxley restructuring via private equity firms is part of a significant increase in direct ownership of major assets by institutional investors. Direct ownership prevents management expropriation of resources, and is preferable to corporate ownership whenever other alternatives for indemnification or liability limitation are available (such as insurance, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, etc.). Finally, the renewal of direct ownership is not a radical shift, but a return to long-established tradition in the organization of business activities.


This chapter focuses on the common occurrence of wholesale electricity prices that fall below the cost of production. This “negative pricing” in effect represents payment to high-volume consumers for taking excess power off the grid, thus relieving overload. Occurrences of negative pricing have been observed since the wholesale electricity markets have been operating, and occur during periods of low demand, while generators are being kept in reserve for rapid engagement when demand increases (it is expensive and time-consuming to shut down generators and then restart them, so they are often kept in “spooling mode”). In such situations power production may temporarily exceed demand, potentially overloading the system. When the federal government began subsidizing the construction of wind generation projects, with regulations in place requiring transmission grids to accept all of the electricity produced by the wind generators, negative pricing became more frequent.


This study takes a novel approach to testing the efficacy of technical analysis. Rather than testing specific trading rules as is typically done in the literature, we rely on institutional portfolio managers’ statements about whether and how intensely they use technical analysis, irrespective of the form in which they implement it. In our sample of more than 10,000 portfolios, about one-third of actively managed equity and balanced funds use technical analysis. We compare the investment performance of funds that use technical analysis versus those that do not, using five metrics. Mean and median (3 and 4-factor) alpha values are generally slightly higher for a cross section of funds using technical analysis, but performance volatility is also higher. Benchmark-adjusted returns are also higher, particularly when market prices are declining. The most remarkable finding is that portfolios with greater reliance on technical analysis have elevated skewness and kurtosis levels relative to portfolios that do not use technical analysis. Funds using technical analysis appear to have provided a meaningful advantage to their investors, albeit in an unexpected way.

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Research in Finance
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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