This paper aims to differentiate between optimistic splits and overoptimistic/opportunistic splits. Although markets do not distinguish between these two groups at the split announcement time, optimistic (over-optimistic/opportunistic) splits precede positive (negative) long-term buy-and-hold abnormal returns. Using the calendar month portfolio approach, we show that the zero-investment, ex-ante identifiable, and fully implementable trading strategy proposed in this paper can generate economically and statistically significant positive abnormal returns. Our findings indicate that pre-split earnings management and how it relates to managers’ incentives, is an omitted variable in the studies of post-split long-term abnormal returns.
Elnahas, Ahmed; Gao, Lei; and Ismail, Ghada, "Return Predictability: The Dual Signaling Hypothesis of Stock Splits" (2019). Economics and Finance Faculty Publications and Presentations. 21.