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Exploring for the Determinants of Credit Risk in Credit Default Swap Transaction Data: Is Fixed-Income Markets’ Information Suffcient to Evaluate Credit Risk?

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Author Info

  • Didier Cossin

    (HEC-University of Lausanne, IMD and FAME)

  • Tomas Hricko

    (HEC-University of Lausanne and Fame)

  • Daniel Aunon-Nerin

    (HEC-University of Lausanne and Fame)

  • Zhijiang Huang

    (HEC-University of Lausanne and Fame)

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    Abstract

    We investigate the influence of various fundamental variables on a cross-section of credit default swap transaction data. Credit default swap rates can be seen as a superior proxy to credit risk than bond spreads are. Because we have transaction prices rather than quotes, we have thus observations of financial markets’ assessment of credit risk. Therefore our findings are relevant not only for the understanding of credit default swaps but for credit risk in general. The fundamental variables include fixed-income market data such as ratings, interest rate data and bond spreads as well as equity market data such as variance and market leverage (so called ” structural variables ”). We test for the stability of the influence of the different fundamental variables along several lines. We find evidence that most of the variables predicted by credit risk pricing theories have a significant impact on the observed levels of credit default prices. We also provide an international analysis of corporate credit risk, as half of our corporate sample is not US based, as well as some re-sults on sovereign credit risk. Using this information we are able to explain a significant portion of the cross-sectional variation in our sample with adjusted R 2 reaching 82% using the variables predicted by classical theoretical models. However there are important behavioral differences between high rated and low rated underlyings, sovereign and corporate underlyings and underlyings from different markets (US vs no US). We analyze these differences. We also find evidence of behavioral, momentum-like issues in equity markets-credit risk relationships. Overall, strong results show the importance of considering so called ”structural variables ” and equity market information as well as stochastic interest rates along with classical ratings when pricing credit risk overall. Furthermore, and contrarily to previous results, equity market information seems to matter for both high and low ratings, albeit in different ways. We implement a reduced-form model and analyze the errors obtained. Equity market variables seem to explain a large part of the errors. Overall, we document the importance of taking into account equity markets when doing credit risk analysis.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering in its series FAME Research Paper Series with number rp65.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:fam:rpseri:rp65

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    1. Klein, Peter, 1996. "Pricing Black-Scholes options with correlated credit risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 1211-1229, August.
    2. Gregory D. Sutton, 1998. "Spread overreaction in international bond markets," BIS Working Papers 55, Bank for International Settlements.
    3. Pinches, George E & Singleton, J Clay, 1978. "The Adjustment of Stock Prices to Bond Rating Changes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(1), pages 29-44, March.
    4. Jarrow, Robert A & Turnbull, Stuart M, 1995. " Pricing Derivatives on Financial Securities Subject to Credit Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 53-85, March.
    5. Claessens, Stijn & Pennacchi, George, 1996. "Estimating the Likelihood of Mexican Default from the Market Prices of Brady Bonds," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(01), pages 109-126, March.
    6. Patrick Houweling & Ton Vorst, 2002. "An Empirical Comparison of Default Swap Pricing Models," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-004/2, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Hayne E. Leland and Klaus Bjerre Toft., 1995. "Optimal Capital Structure, Endogenous Bankruptcy, and the Term Structure of Credit Spreads," Research Program in Finance Working Papers RPF-259, University of California at Berkeley.
    8. Kaufold, Howard & Smirlock, Michael, 1991. "The impact of credit risk on the pricing and duration of floating-rate notes," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 43-52, February.
    9. Sanjiv Ranjan Das & Rangarajan K. Sundaram, 2000. "A Discrete-Time Approach to Arbitrage-Free Pricing of Credit Derivatives," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(1), pages 46-62, January.
    10. Merton, Robert C., 1973. "On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates," Working papers 684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    11. Estrella, Arturo & Hardouvelis, Gikas A, 1991. " The Term Structure as a Predictor of Real Economic Activity," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 555-76, June.
    12. Harvey, Campbell R., 1988. "The real term structure and consumption growth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 305-333, December.
    13. Jarrow, Robert A & Lando, David & Turnbull, Stuart M, 1997. "A Markov Model for the Term Structure of Credit Risk Spreads," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(2), pages 481-523.
    14. Longstaff, Francis A & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1995. " A Simple Approach to Valuing Risky Fixed and Floating Rate Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(3), pages 789-819, July.
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    Cited by:
    1. Clothilde Lesplingart & Christophe Majois & Mikael Petitjean, 2012. "Liquidity and CDS premiums on European companies around the Subprime crisis," Review of Derivatives Research, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 257-281, October.

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