The overall growth and volatility in the high yield (HY) bond market has provided a viable source of capital and an interesting investment asset class. The result has been strong interest in the HY bond credit risk spread (CRS) because this series is very volatile and has a significant impact on the availability of capital to issuers and the rates of return and risk results for investors. Given these trends in the HY bond market, our study has two purposes. The first is to examine statistical properties of the CRS series for the aggregate HY bond market and the three rated components. The second purpose is to interpret the influence that a set of variables are expected to have on future CRSs and, therefore, HY bond performance. In summary, the statistical analysis indicates a significant business cycle effect, but does not show a monetary policy impact. Additionally, the study finds significant differences in characteristics among bonds with alternative ratings. The analysis of specific variables highlights the strong influence of direct and indirect measures of default risk, capital market risk factors, a specific measure of monetary policy, and an impact from liquidity within the HY bond market. There was also evidence of segmentation within the HY bond market because the empirical results indicate that we should consider separate models across rating classes that employed different variables as well as coefficients that were significantly different for the same variables.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 26, 2010
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