An analysis of value investing determinants under the behavioural finance approach
2016-05-17T15:29:43Z (GMT) by
WHAT WAS DONE? This study researches the success of several value investment strategies in the stock markets of the United Kingdom and Germany based on nine firm fundamentals that are extracted from listed firms annual financial statements. In this regard, we first examine alternative forecast combination methods in a novel way to utilise fully the financial information at hand. Second, we examine the drivers of investment returns, particularly the role of information uncertainty, for which a new direct measure is developed. Finally, we evaluate the performance of these financial health investment strategies in alternative institutional environments by focusing on the differences between the two markets regarding both their corporate culture and their legal environment. WHY WAS IT DONE? Similar to economics, the discipline of finance is a social science because its observations emanate from economic transactions between humans. Nevertheless, a significant part of the research in this area is undertaken by means that are almost exclusively applied to the natural sciences, such as mathematics or physics. Although the reasons seem manifold, an increased form of scientificity, in conjunction with greater credibility of the research process and results, is deemed to be of primary importance. However, the benchmark for evaluating these research outcomes differs from those used in the natural sciences. From the example of the efficient market hypothesis one can see that alternative research results that cast serious doubt upon efficiency per se are disregarded as aberrations, leading to the assumption that the hypothesis in its entirety is more or less valid. This study assumes that inefficiencies in the stock market do exist for prolonged periods of time and investors are actually able to benefit from them. HOW WAS IT DONE? Secondary financial statement data of listed companies in the United Kingdom and Germany were downloaded from Datastream for the period between 1992 and 2010. A quantitative analysis of the significance of the correlation between groups of firms with similar financial characteristics and their one-year-ahead stock returns was subsequently performed. Various combination methods for differential weighting of individual financial statement items were conducted. The aim was to increase the profitability of the investment strategy. WHAT WAS FOUND? In general, a classification of stocks according to certain internal criteria of financial health is capable of separating future winners from losers and at the same time confirms the results of a previous US study. More specifically, we first show that a wide range of combination methods generate profitable investment strategies whereby especially measures of profitability are the central indicator of a firm s future performance. Secondly, the more complex methods neither consistently nor substantively outperform the simpler methods. Thirdly, information uncertainty does not seem to be the prime driver of the profitability of an investment strategy. Lastly, we show that financial health investment strategies are profitable both in market-oriented, common law settings and in bank-oriented, code law settings.