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A Tale Of Two Strategies: Cash Flow, Accruals And The Role Of Investor Sentiment

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Executive Summary

This paper documents a subtle and counter-intuitive interaction between operating Cash FlOw (CFO) and accruals, and their association with future stock returns. While the two strategies should by construction capture similar anomalies, the authors find evidence in two large stock markets that they appear distinct, and that returns to these strategies are strongly negatively correlated. They show that the presence and behaviour of financially distressed firms influences asymmetrically the performance of accruals and CFO strategies. Given their highly speculative nature, they find investor sentiment to be an important determinant of the performance of financially distressed firms.

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