THE LIQUIDITY ROUTE TO A LOWER COST OF CAPITAL
Article first published online: 5 APR 2005
Journal of Applied Corporate Finance
Volume 12, Issue 4, pages 8–25, Winter 2000
How to Cite
Amihud, Y. and Mendelson, H. (2000), THE LIQUIDITY ROUTE TO A LOWER COST OF CAPITAL. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 12: 8–25. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6622.2000.tb00016.x
- Issue published online: 5 APR 2005
- Article first published online: 5 APR 2005
The managements of many public companies do not pay much attention to the liquidity of their securities. Many if not most CEOs and CFOs feel powerless to affect what goes on in financial markets, and a common attitude among top executives is that maintaining liquidity is the concern of the securities exchanges and the Securities and Exchange Commission. This approach may work for those companies whose stocks are already highly liquid—a group made up mainly of large-cap companies, as well as a number of smaller high-flying, high-tech firms. But, for the vast majority of public companies—especially smaller and mid-sized firms—this is likely to be the wrong policy.
As the authors of this article demonstrated in their pioneering study (published in the Journal of Financial Economics in 1986), liquidity appears to be a major determinant of a company's cost of capital. As their theory suggests and their empirical tests confirmed, the more liquid a company's securities, the lower its cost of capital and the higher its stock price. And, as discussed in this article, academic research since then has produced a large and impressive body of evidence linking greater liquidity to higher stock prices.
Although recent technological innovations such as Internet-based trading have increased liquidity generally, not all companies appear to have benefited equally. The authors offer a number of suggestions for companies intent on increasing the liquidity of their stock. Specifically, they propose that managers do the following: (1) consider measures, such as stock splits, designed to increase their investor base by attracting small investors; (2) seek trading venues for their securities that promise to increase liquidity; and (3) take advantage of the new Internet technology to provide more and better information to investors.
Moreover, for smaller companies with little or no analyst coverage, the authors offer the radical suggestion that such companies actually pay analysts to cover their stock, much as companies pay Moody's or Standard & Poors to rate their bonds. This, in the authors' view, would be a more efficient alternative to the current practice of using stock splits to encourage intermediaries to make markets in the firm's shares.