The Beneish M-Score is a checklist for identifying stocks that might be manipulating their earning figures. It was created by US finance Professor Messod Daniel Beneish and presented in a paper called The Predictable Cost of Earnings Manipulation. The M-Score is a red flag indicator that is often used as part of a short selling strategy. It calculates and distils eight different accounting variables into a single score. Generally, a score greater than -1.78 (i.e. a less negative or positive number) indicates an increased likelihood of a firm being an earnings manipulator. Beneish wrote: "We show that firms with a high probability of overstated earnings have lower future earnings, less persistent income-increasing accruals, and lower future returns." The M-score strategy apparently generated a hedged return of nearly 14% per year, mostly from the short positions. more »
Many companies can increase their reported earnings by booking sales early, delaying expense recognition, capitalising expenses and other tricks of the trade. Most of these tricks aren't illegal, but regular practice can signify a company that may be getting into bad habits. The M Score predicted such high profile failures as Enron and has even been shown to be useful as a short selling technique.
Which Guru Screens is Beneish M Score, Last Yr used in?