Economic Motivation of the Ex-Dividend Day Anomaly: Evidence from an Alternative Tax Environment

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Several studies have observed that stocks tend to drop by an amount that is less than the dividend on the ex-dividend day, the so-called ex-dividend day anomaly. However, there still remains a lack of consensus for a single explanation of this anomaly. Different from other studies, this dissertation attempts to answer the primary research question: How can investors make trading profits from the ex-dividend day anomaly and how much can they earn? With this goal, I examine the economic motivations of equity investors through four main hypotheses identified in the anomaly’s literature: the tax differential hypothesis, the short-term trading hypothesis, ... continued below

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Anantarak, Sarin December 2011.

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Several studies have observed that stocks tend to drop by an amount that is less than the dividend on the ex-dividend day, the so-called ex-dividend day anomaly. However, there still remains a lack of consensus for a single explanation of this anomaly. Different from other studies, this dissertation attempts to answer the primary research question: How can investors make trading profits from the ex-dividend day anomaly and how much can they earn? With this goal, I examine the economic motivations of equity investors through four main hypotheses identified in the anomaly’s literature: the tax differential hypothesis, the short-term trading hypothesis, the tick size hypothesis, and the leverage hypothesis. While the U.S. ex-dividend anomaly is well studied, I examine a long data window (1975 to 2010) of Thailand data. The unique structure of the Thai stock market allows me to assess all four main hypotheses proposed in the literature simultaneously. Although I extract the sample data from two data sources, I demonstrate that the combined data are consistently sampled. I further construct three trading strategies: “daily return,” “lag one daily return,” and “weekly return” to alleviate the potential effect of irregular data observation. I find that the ex-dividend day anomaly exists in Thailand, is governed by the tax differential and is driven by short-term trading activities. That is, investors trade heavily around the ex-dividend day to reap the benefits of the tax differential. I find mixed results for the predictions of the tick size hypothesis and results that are inconsistent with the predictions of the leverage hypothesis. I conclude that, on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, juristic and foreign investors can profitably buy stocks cum-dividend and sell them ex-dividend while local investors should engage in short sale transactions. On average, investors who employ the daily return strategy have earned significant abnormal return up to 0.15% (45.66% annualized rate) and up to 0.17% (50.99% annualized rate) for the lag one daily return strategy. Investors can also make a trading profit by conducting the weekly return strategy and earn up to 0.59% (35.67% annualized rate), on average.

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  • December 2011

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  • Oct. 2, 2012, 4:18 p.m.

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  • Jan. 14, 2014, 3 p.m.

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Anantarak, Sarin. Economic Motivation of the Ex-Dividend Day Anomaly: Evidence from an Alternative Tax Environment, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103283/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .