An investigation of the effects of SFAS No.121 on asset impairment reporting and stock returns

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Prior to Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No.121 (SFAS No.121): Accounting for the Impairment of Long-Lived Assets and Long-Lived Assets to Be Disposed Of, managers had substantial discretion concerning the amount and timing of reporting writedowns of long-lived assets. Moreover, the frequency and dollar amount of asset writedown announcements that led to a large “surprise” caused the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to consider the need for a new standard to guide the recording of impairment of long-lived assets. This study has two primary objectives. First, it investigates the effects of SFAS No.121 ... continued below

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Alshabani, Waleed Mohammad December 2001.

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  • Alshabani, Waleed Mohammad

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Prior to Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No.121 (SFAS No.121): Accounting for the Impairment of Long-Lived Assets and Long-Lived Assets to Be Disposed Of, managers had substantial discretion concerning the amount and timing of reporting writedowns of long-lived assets. Moreover, the frequency and dollar amount of asset writedown announcements that led to a large “surprise” caused the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to consider the need for a new standard to guide the recording of impairment of long-lived assets. This study has two primary objectives. First, it investigates the effects of SFAS No.121 on asset impairment reporting, examining whether SFAS No.121 reduces the magnitude and restricts the timing of reporting asset writedowns. Second, the study compares the information content (surprise element) of the asset impairment loss announcement as measured by cumulative abnormal returns (CAR) before and after the issuance of SFAS No.121. The findings provide support for the hypothesis that the FASB's new accounting standard does not affect the magnitude of asset writedown losses. The findings also provide support for the hypothesis that SFAS No. 121 does not affect the management choice of the timing for reporting asset writedowns. In addition, the findings suggest that the market evaluates the asset writedown losses after the issuance of SFAS No. 121 as good news for “big bath” firms, while, for “income smoothing” firms, the market does not respond to the announcements of asset writedown losses either before or after the issuance of SFAS No. 121. The findings also suggest that, for “big bath” firms, the market perceives the announcement of asset impairment losses after the adoption of SFAS No. 121 as more credible relative to that before its issuance. This could be because the practice of reporting asset writedowns after the issuance of SFAS No. 121 is under the FASB's authoritative guidance, which brings consistency and comparability in asset impairment reporting.

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  • December 2001

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  • Sept. 25, 2007, 10:56 p.m.

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  • Jan. 14, 2014, 1:50 p.m.

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Alshabani, Waleed Mohammad. An investigation of the effects of SFAS No.121 on asset impairment reporting and stock returns, dissertation, December 2001; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3068/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .