Identifying overvalued equity

Messod D. Beneish, David Craig Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop a profile of overvalued equity, and show that firms meeting this profile experience abnormal stock returns net of transaction costs of −22% to −25% over the 12 months following portfolio formation. We show our model is distinct from predictors proposed in prior work, and our results robust to alternative measurements of expected returns. We also show that overvaluation is not confined to small firms and that institutions do not trade as if they identify overvalued equity. The profitable predictability we document suggests a pricing anomaly relating to the 2.5% of the firms in the population that our model identifies as substantially overvalued. Although we believe markets are generally efficient within the bounds of transaction costs, our evidence suggests that violations of minimally rational use of publicly available information do occur. To the extent that anomalies disappear or attenuate once documented in the literature (Doukas et al., 2002 [European Financial Management, 2002, 8, 229]; Schwert, 2003 [Handbook of the Economics of Finance, 2003, 1, 939]), our results are of interest to financial economists and investors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-436
Number of pages29
JournalReview of Financial Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • O-score
  • agency costs
  • earnings manipulation
  • earnings overstatement
  • financial fraud
  • overvalued equity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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