Limits to Arbitrage and Value Investing: Evidence From Brazil

Fernando Caio Galdi, Alexsandro Broedel Lopes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article we show that the results obtained by accounting-based fundamental analysis strategies observed in the US market cannot be directly extended to emerging markets with less developed institutional environments and narrow equity markets as found in Latin America. We use Brazil as a special case and through standard tests show the apparent usefulness of financial statement analysis as an effective investment tool. We show that an investor could have changed his/her high book-to-market (HBM) portfolio one-year (two years) market-adjusted returns from 5.7% (42.4%) to 26.7% (120.2%) by selecting financially strong HBM firms listed on the São Paulo Stock Exchange. Our tests were performed using stock returns from 1995 to 2007 and financial and accounting data from 1994 to 2004. When one considers low book-to-market (LBM) firms, the results of the study indicate that an investor could change his/her mean (median) one-year market adjusted return from -11.9% (-7.4%) to 8.1% (2.5%) by adopting the strategy proposed. However, additional investigation demonstrates that the returns generated by these strategies are significantly dependent on stock's liquidity, and when we consider only stocks where arbitrage is possible, the previous results do not hold. These findings contribute to the literature that tries to address the impact of limits to arbitrage on some well reported capital markets phenomena related to financial reporting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-137
Number of pages31
JournalLatin American Business Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013


  • emerging markets
  • financial statement analysis
  • limits to arbitrage
  • market efficiency
  • value investing


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