A Textual Analysis of Annual Reports: A Study on how Companies Explain Fluctuations in Share Price in their Annual Reports

Emil Olander Falke Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

In this study, 12 annual reports have been analyzed in order to investigate how explanations of increasing and decreasing share prices are given in annual reports. The first research question that the study tries to answer is: ““What could investors look at in an annual report when trying to find explanations for why the price of a share has increased or decreased?” The study also has a cultural aspect. The second research question in this study is: “Which differences in national culture could analysts take into account when analyzing annual reports from different countries?” The 12 annual reports that are analyzed in this study are divided into four categories. Three of the annual reports are from American companies whose share prices have increased, three of the annual reports are from American companies whose share prices have decreased, three of the annual reports are from Chinese companies whose share prices have increased and three of the annual reports are from Chinese companies whose share prices have decreased.
The 12 annual reports have been analyzed on the basis of Helder ́s Analysis Model. For theory and knowledge regarding annual reports, Thomsett ́s book, Annual Reports 101, has been used. For explaining and introducing culture, the theories of D ́Andrade and Ting-Toomey have been utilized, and Hofstede ́s and Trompenaars ́ studies have been used for explaining the different dimensions that differentiate national cultures. The philosophy of science that has been used in this study is constructivism, and conclusions are made using the hypothetico-deductive method, which is a combination of induction and deduction.
The findings of this study suggests that there is a strong correlation between a decrease in share price and beginning with internal risk factors, and some correlation between an increase in share price and beginning with general risk factors. They also suggest that there is a strong correlation between an increase in share price, and extensive use of internal factors for explaining financial results, and a strong correlation between a decrease in share price and using external factors for explaining the financial performance. As for the cultural aspect, the findings did not suggest that there was any significant or observable correlation between differences in national culture and the way explanations are given by companies in annual reports. It should be noted that due to the small sample population, the statistical uncertainty is very high. Due to this, and also due to the philosophy of science used in this study, the results of the analysis should not be perceived as universal truths or facts.

EducationsCand.ling.merc Erhvervssprog og International Erhvervskommunikation (Multikulturel Kommunikation i Organisationer), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages72