A Cross-industry Analysis of Financial Ratios: Comparabilities and Corporate Performance

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Whether used as predictors or indicators of stock prices, financial risk, merger candidates, or bond yields, financial ratios have been, and continue to be, a popular tool for analyzing a firm and its performance. Practitioners and academics who employ financial ratios often compare and contrast across several industries, but such evaluations assume that the ratios of one industry measure the same underlying concepts as the ratios of another. This book provides evidence on the comparability of financial ratios across several industries, assessing the similarity or dissimilarity of ratios among industry taxonomies, or groups of ratios.

Extending previous studies that focused primarily on manufacturing firms, this work surveys a wide variety of both manufacturing and retail corporations, and determines the classification patterns of their respective financial ratios. The taxonomies of thirty two ratios, in seven representative industries, are examined for the ten-year period from 1978 through 1987. Two introductory chapters detail the nature of the research, the data utilized, variables employed, and statistical methodologies, as well as providing a brief summary of the results. A third chapter furnishes results for the entire economy by factors of return, cash flow, cash position, inventory, sales, liquidity, and debt; while seven separate chapters describe the study's conclusions for each of the primary industries: automobile and aerospace; chemical, rubber, and oil; electronics; food; retail; steel; and textile. The work concludes with a summary of the study and its conclusions, and an examination of the limitations of this type of research and possibilities for its extension. This book will be a valuable practical resource for accounting and finance professionals, as well as an important reference for courses in finance, accounting, and management. Public, academic, and business libraries will also find it a useful addition to their collections.

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Purpose and Overview
Data Variables and Methodology
Classification of Ratios for the Economy

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About the author (1990)

J. Edward Ketz is associate professor of accounting and MIS in the College of Business Administration at Pennsylvania State University.

Rajib K. Doogar is a PhD candidate in the Department of Accounting and MIS at Pennsylvania State University.

David E. Jensen is assistant professor of accounting at Bucknell University.

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