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Firm Characteristics and Stock Price

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This study examines the stock price reaction to the internal control reporting required under Section 404 of the Sarbanes‐Oxley Act of 2002 for three distinct groups of firms. After controlling for general stock price movements, we find that stock returns are most negative for firms that delay filing of their internal control reports, continue to be negative for firms with ineffective internal controls, and are positive for firms with effective internal controls. The decrease in stock prices of the first two groups is more pronounced for those with a lower return on assets, higher growth rate in sales, and no prior disclosure of their internal controls weaknesses. Our results indicate that market participants value the reliability of financial information ensuing from Section 404 compliance, irrespective of firm size and debt proportion. Thus, regulators and policymakers worldwide should consider mandating comparable SOX 404 compliance for all publicly held companies to improve the accuracy and reliability of financial reports.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-12-01

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