Do stock prices influence corporate decisions? Evidence from the technology bubble
We study the capital investment, stock issuance, and cash savings behavior of non-tech manufacturers (old economy firms) during the 1990s technology bubble. Our empirical results show that high stock prices affect corporate policies because they relax financing constraints. During the tech bubble, constrained non-tech firms' investment responded strongly to "high stock prices" (specifically, the component of price that is not captured by fundamentals). They also issued stock in response to that overvaluation effect, saving part of the proceeds in their cash accounts. We find no such patterns for unconstrained non-tech firms, nor for tech firms. Our findings are not consistent with the notion that managers systematically issue overvalued stocks and invest in ways that transfer wealth from new to old shareholders. More broadly, they suggest that what appears to be overvaluation in one sector of the economy may have positive externalities for other sectors. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
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