Under semi-strong market efficiency future returns are unpredictable from previously released information. We test the degree of semi-strong form market efficiency in the credit default swap (CDS) market by examining the relationship between subsequent CDS returns and previously announced quarterly earnings surprises and quarterly accruals, both of which have been the source of stock market anomalies. We conduct our analysis over three time periods: (1) before the credit crisis that spanned from July 2007 to June 2009, (2) during the credit crisis, and (3) after the credit crisis. Both before and after the credit crisis, the CDS market was efficient, exhibiting no systematic relation between subsequent CDS returns and previously announced accounting information. During the credit crisis, however, we find that both quarterly earnings surprises and quarterly accruals are associated with systematic patterns in subsequent CDS returns that are consistent with underreaction to both measures. In the latter stages of the crisis, the pattern reverses, consistent with the CDS market overreacting to both measures although the overreaction is short-lived. Collectively, our results indicate that the CDS market is efficient during periods of relative economic stability but call into question its efficiency during less stable economic periods.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 9, 2014
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