Date of Award

5-20-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Financial Economics

Department

Economics and Finance

Major Professor

Mukherjee, Tarun

Second Advisor

Whitney, Gerald

Third Advisor

Speyrer, Janet

Fourth Advisor

Varela, Oscar

Fifth Advisor

Wei, Peihwang

Abstract

Despite the rich literature on theories of stock splits, studies have omitted public utility firms from their analysis and only analyzed split by industrial firms when examining managerial motives for splitting their stock. I examine the liquidity-marketability hypothesis, which states that stock splits enhance the attractiveness of shares to individual investors and increase trading volume by adjusting prices to an optimum trading range. Changes in the regulatory process, resulting from EPACT, have opened a window of opportunity for the study and comparison of the two traditional motives for splitting stock --signaling versus liquidity-marketability motives. Public electric utility firms provide a clean testing ground for these two non-mutually exclusive theories as liquidity/marketability hypothesis should dominate before the enactment of the EPACT since the conventional signaling theory of common stock splits should not apply given the low levels of information asymmetry in regulated utility companies. In the post-EPACT period, however, the signaling effect is expected to play a more dominant role. Based on both univariate and multivariate analyses, my results are consistent with the hypothesis posed. For the pre-EPACT period, liquidity motive seems to predominate in explaining the abnormal announcement return of utility stock splits. On the other hand, the results support the signaling motive as a leading explanation of abnormal returns in the post-EPACT period.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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