Dividend Policy and Stock Price Behaviour in Indian Corporate Sector: a Panel Data Approach

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Dividend Policy and Stock Price Behaviour in Indian Corporate Sector: A panel data approach Upananda Pani∗

Abstract: This paper attempts to explore the possible links between dividend policy and stock price behaviour in Indian corporate sector. A sample of 500 listed companies from BSE are examined for the years 1996-2006.Dividend policy has always been a source of controversy despite years of theoretical and empirical research both in developed countries and emerging economies. The present paper features a panel data approach to analyze the relationship between dividend-retention ratio and stock-price behaviour while controlling the variables like size and long-term debt-equity ratio of the firm. The sample is taken across six different industries namely electricity, food and beverage, mining, non-metallic, textile and service sector. The results are based on the fixed-effect model, as these perform statistically better than random effects and pooled OLS model. Results of the fixed-effect models indicate that dividend-retention ratio along with size and debtequity ratio plays a significant role in explaining variations in stock returns. The fixed effect models show the presence of firm level effect in explaining the possible links between dividend policy and stock price behaviour of the firm. In another words it exhibits the possibility of “clientele effect” effect in case of some industries. Therefore the model helps to understand the intricacies of dividend policy and stock-return behaviour in Indian corporate sector for the same period. Although the results are not robust enough as in the case of developed markets but shades some more interesting facets to the existing corporate finance literature on dividend policy in India.

Kew Words: Dividened Policy, Stock Price, Corporate Finance, Fixed Effect Model JEL Code: G30, G35

Research Scholar, Indian Institute of Technology, Khragpur-721302. The author can be contacted upani@iitkgp.ac.in


1. Introduction
Dividend policy still remains an academic debate amid the clouding picture of its importance among the financial economists till today. There are few aspects of corporate financial policy where the gap between the academics and the practitioners is larger than that of the dividend policy. From Miller & Modigliani (1961)1, ,Gordon & Linter to Fama & French (2001)2 ,the research on the topic exhibits conflicting trends in dividend payments & firm value. The academic consensus shows that dividends really don’t matter very much for the market nor is relevant, when firms pay dividend as a signal to the

investors. Both corporate officials and investment analysts, still continue to insist that a firm’s dividend policy matters a great deal for conveying the information to the stakeholders. One side of the argument on the basis of economic theory is, it doesn’t matter or is irrelevant. But the practitioners believe it as information content to the public, which reflects seriousness of the problem that is inherent in the reaction mechanisms of the market to the dividend policy announcements. I want to foreground an explanation before the practitioners, why, in the face of all this evidence of price increase in response to dividend announcements, otherwise sensible academics believe that a firm’s dividend policy really doesn’t make much difference. At the same time, I’11 argue that the dividends do matter for a firm.

Dividend Policy & Share prices

The dividend policy of a firm becomes the choice of financial strategy when investment decisions are taken as given. It is also imperative to know whether the firm will go for internal or external source of financing for its investment project. There are a number of factors affecting the dividend policy decisions of a firm such as investor’s preference, earnings, investment opportunities; annual vs. target capital structure, flotation costs, signaling, stability & Government policies and taxation. In the...
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