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ABSTRACT

We examine whether the market interprets changes in dividends as a signal about the persistence of past earnings changes. Prior to observing this signal, investors may believe that past earnings changes are not necessarily indicative of future earnings levels. We empirically investigate whether a change in dividends alters investors' assessments about the valuation implications of past earnings. Results confirm the hypothesis that changes in dividends cause investors to revise their expectations about the persistence of past earnings changes. This effect varies predictably with the magnitude of the dividend change and the sign of the past earnings change.