Two essays on corporate finance

Lian, Jie, 1977-
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This dissertation consists of two essays on corporate finance. Essay one examines whether corporate governance affects firm performance after capital investments. I find that among firms with weak corporate governance, those with high abnormal capital investments have significantly lower stock performance than those with low abnormal capital investments. In addition, a significant portion of the difference in abnormal stock performance between the two subgroups occurs around earnings announcements. In contrast, the level of abnormal capital investments is not related to subsequent stock performance or earnings announcement returns at firms with strong corporate governance. These findings indicate that corporate governance structure enhances firm value by mitigating the over-investment problem. Essay two examines how insider trading activity prior to seasoned equity offerings (SEOs) is related to subsequent investment, operating, and financing decisions of the issuer. I find that SEO firms with more abnormal insider sales issue more seasoned equity, hold more cash and increase dividend payouts more. They also perform more poorly. Following the SEO, these firms also issue less equity and the effects of the SEO on their capital structures gradually reverses. These findings suggest that SEO firms with more abnormal insider sales are more likely to have overpriced stock, while those with less abnormal insider sales are more likely to have good investment opportunities. Insider trading activity prior to the SEO provides valuable information about the firm’s incentives to issue seasoned equity and help to predict the real activities of the issuer following the SEO.