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Capital Structure and Profitability: S&p 500 Enterprises in the Light of the 2008 Financial Crisis

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The present study aims to investigate to what extent capital structure has an impact on profitability and closely associated factors due to a series of bankruptcies and bail-outs within the last twelve months. The analysis refers to firms listed in the S&P 500 index on January 2004 and evaluates their performance from 2004 to 2008. The results show strong industry-specific The present study aims to investigate to what extent capital structure has an impact on profitability and closely associated factors due to a series of bankruptcies and bail-outs within the last twelve months. The analysis refers to firms listed in the S&P 500 index on January 2004 and evaluates their performance from 2004 to 2008. The results show strong industry-specific characteristics for all factors observed, i.e. gearing, profitability, liquidity, investments and dividends. In addition, findings indicate a negative effect of higher gearing for almost all ten sectors in respect of the core variables analysed. Neither the trade-off nor the pecking order theory can be confirmed, however, more support for the former is found. Due to the complexity of capital structure choice, regulations have very limited effects that require the need for independent non-governmental monitoring agencies to improve transparency and have the authority to intervene if managers act at the expense of public interest.


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The present study aims to investigate to what extent capital structure has an impact on profitability and closely associated factors due to a series of bankruptcies and bail-outs within the last twelve months. The analysis refers to firms listed in the S&P 500 index on January 2004 and evaluates their performance from 2004 to 2008. The results show strong industry-specific The present study aims to investigate to what extent capital structure has an impact on profitability and closely associated factors due to a series of bankruptcies and bail-outs within the last twelve months. The analysis refers to firms listed in the S&P 500 index on January 2004 and evaluates their performance from 2004 to 2008. The results show strong industry-specific characteristics for all factors observed, i.e. gearing, profitability, liquidity, investments and dividends. In addition, findings indicate a negative effect of higher gearing for almost all ten sectors in respect of the core variables analysed. Neither the trade-off nor the pecking order theory can be confirmed, however, more support for the former is found. Due to the complexity of capital structure choice, regulations have very limited effects that require the need for independent non-governmental monitoring agencies to improve transparency and have the authority to intervene if managers act at the expense of public interest.

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