Cash Savings and Stock Price Informativeness


Review of Finance


This paper examines the process whereby firms accumulate their cash reserves, i.e. their savings decisions. The investigation illustrates that stock prices, and more importantly, the private information they contain, play a crucial role in explaining firms' savings choices. I start by documenting that a firm' savings are highly sensitive to its stock price. This positive association indicates that firms tend to transfer more resources into their cash balances when the market foresees valuable future prospects. Strikingly, such a precautionary mechanism turns out to be amplified when the market price contains a larger content of private investors' information. Hence, the findings are consistent with the view that managers learn from observing the level of their stock price. Moreover, further test show that this defensive learning is not due to the uncaptured effect of market mispricing or financing constraints. Overall, the analysis importantly highlights that the nature and precision of the available information about firms' future prospects are crucial ingredients of their saving choices. Keywords: Corporate savings, cash holdings, price informativeness, private information