Accepted by Peter Easton. This paper was presented at the 2001 Contemporary Accounting Research Conference, generously supported by the CGA-Canada Research Foundation, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, the CMA Canada — Ontario, the Certified General Accountants of Ontario, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, Arthur Andersen, LLP, Deloitte & Touche, LLP, Ernst & Young, LLP, KPMG, LLP, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. This research was supported by the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors. Official positions of the Financial Accounting Standards Board are determined only after extensive due process and deliberations. We appreciate comments from Peter Easton (associate editor) and two anonymous referees; S. P. Kothari (discussant) and participants at the 2001 Contemporary Accounting Research Conference; workshop participants at the 2001 Empirical Accounting Research Conference at Glasgow University and at the 2002 Summer Research Symposium at the University of Technology, Sydney; and members of the Steering Committee of the Financial Accounting Standards Board's Business Reporting Research Project. We also thank Qi Chen and Dennis Oswald for research assistance.
The Relative and Incremental Explanatory Power of Earnings and Alternative (to Earnings) Performance Measures for Returns*
Article first published online: 15 JAN 2010
2003 Canadian Academic Accounting Association
Contemporary Accounting Research
Volume 20, Issue 1, pages 121–164, Spring 2003
How to Cite
Francis, J., Schipper, K. and Vincent, L. (2003), The Relative and Incremental Explanatory Power of Earnings and Alternative (to Earnings) Performance Measures for Returns. Contemporary Accounting Research, 20: 121–164. doi: 10.1506/XVQV-NQ4A-08EX-FC8A
- Issue published online: 15 JAN 2010
- Article first published online: 15 JAN 2010
- Cash flows;
- Nonfinancial measures;
- Performance metrics
We analyze the ability of earnings and non-earnings performance metrics to explain the variability in annual stock returns for industries where we identify, ex ante, an allegedly preferred (for valuation purposes) summary performance metric. We identify three industries where earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) and cash from operations (CFO) are preferred, and three industries where specific non-GAAP performance metrics are preferred. As a benchmark, we also examine the ability of EBITDA and CFO to explain returns for seven industries for which earnings is the preferred metric. Results for the benchmark earnings industries show that earnings dominates EBITDA and CFO in explaining returns. All other results are inconsistent with the view that perceptions of preferred metrics are reflected in actual aggregate investment behaviors.