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Returns and Volatility of Low-Grade Bonds: 1977-1989


  • Blume, Marshall E
  • Keim, Donald B
  • Patel, Sandeep A


This paper examines the risks and returns of long-term low-grade bonds for the period 1977-89. The authors find (1) low-grade bonds realized higher returns than higher-grade bonds and lower returns than common stocks, and low-grade bonds exhibited less volatility than higher-grade bonds due to their call features and high coupons; (2) there is no relation between the age of low-grade bonds and their relaxed returns; cyclical factors explain much of the observed reaction between default rates and bond age; and (3) low-grade bonds behave like both bonds and stocks. Despite this complexity there is no evidence that low-grade bonds are systematically over- or under-priced. Copyright 1991 by American Finance Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Blume, Marshall E & Keim, Donald B & Patel, Sandeep A, 1991. " Returns and Volatility of Low-Grade Bonds: 1977-1989," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 49-74, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:46:y:1991:i:1:p:49-74

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