The Cash-Flow Permanence and Information Content of Dividend Increases Versus Repurchases
We hypothesize that firms choose dividend increases to distribute relatively permanent cash-flow shocks and repurchases to distribute more transient shocks. As predicted, we find that post-shock cash flows of dividend increasing firms exhibit less reversion to pre-shock levels compared with repurchasing firms. We also examine whether the stock market uses the announcement of the payout method to update its beliefs about the permanence of cash-flow shocks. Controlling for payout size and the market's expectation about the permanence of the cash-flow shock, the stock price reaction to dividend increases is more positive than the reaction to repurchases.