An empirical investigation of the effect of rights issue announcements on share returns and the determinants of abnormal returns on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange
This thesis examines the effect of rights issue announcements on stock prices by companies listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) between 1987 to 1996. The emphasis is to report whether the KLSE is semi strongly efficient with respect to the announcement of rights issues and to check whether the implications of corporate finance theories on the effect of an event can be supported in the context of an emerging market. Once the effect is established, potential determinants of abnormal returns identified by previous empirical work and corporate financial theory are analysed. By examining 70 companies making clean rights issue announcements, this thesis will hopefully shed light on some important issues in long term corporate financing. Event study analysis is used to check on the efficiency of the Malaysian stock market; while cross-sectional regression analysis is executed to identify possible explanators of the rights issue announcements' effect. To ensure the results presented are not contaminated, econometric and statistical issues raised in both analyses have been taken into account. Given the small amount of empirical research conducted in this part of the world, the results of this study will hopefully be of use to investors, security analysts, corporate financial managements, regulators and policy makers as well as those who are interested in capital market based research of an emerging market. It is found that the Malaysian stock market is not semi strongly efficient since there exists a persistent non-zero abnormal return. This finding is not consistent with the hypothesis that security returns adjust rapidly to reflect new information. It may be possible that the result is influenced by the sample, consisting mainly of below average size companies which tend to be thinly traded. Nevertheless, these issues have been addressed. Another important issue which has emerged from the study is that there is some evidence to suggest that insider trading activity existed in this market. In addition to these findings, when the rights issue announcements' effect is compared to the implications of corporate finance theories in predicting the sign of abnormal returns, the signalling model, asymmetric information model, perfect substitution hypothesis and Scholes' information hypothesis cannot be supported.