IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Leverage change, debt overhang, and stock prices

  • Cai, Jie
  • Zhang, Zhe
Registered author(s):

    We document a significant and negative effect of the change in a firm's leverage ratio on its stock prices. We find that the negative effect is stronger for firms that have higher leverage ratios, higher likelihood of default, and face more severe financial constraints. Moreover, firms with an increase in leverage ratio tend to have less future investment. These findings are consistent with Myers' (1977) debt overhang theory that an increase in leverage may lead to future underinvestment, thus reducing a firm's value.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VFK-51PRY64-2/2/8702cbe53c899d15b66524e51a1a254f
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Corporate Finance.

    Volume (Year): 17 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 391-402

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:17:y:2011:i:3:p:391-402
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jcorpfin

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. John Y. Campbell & Jens Hilscher & Jan Szilagyi, 2006. "In Search of Distress Risk," NBER Working Papers 12362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Frank, Murray Z. & Goyal, Vidhan K., 2003. "Testing the pecking order theory of capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 217-248, February.
    3. STEPHEN H. PENMAN & SCOTT A. RICHARDSON & İREM TUNA, 2007. "The Book-to-Price Effect in Stock Returns: Accounting for Leverage," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 427-467, 05.
    4. Michael L. Lemmon & Michael R. Roberts & Jaime F. Zender, 2008. "Back to the Beginning: Persistence and the Cross-Section of Corporate Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(4), pages 1575-1608, 08.
    5. Murray Z. Frank & Vidhan K. Goyal, 2009. "Capital Structure Decisions: Which Factors Are Reliably Important?," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 38(1), pages 1-37, 03.
    6. Stein, Jeremy C., 1996. "Rational Capital Budgeting in an Irrational World," Scholarly Articles 3708373, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    7. Da, Zhi & Gao, Pengjie, 2010. "Clientele Change, Liquidity Shock, and the Return on Financially Distressed Stocks," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(01), pages 27-48, February.
    8. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
    9. Ayla Kayhan & Sheridan Titman, 2004. "Firms' Histories and Their Capital Structures," NBER Working Papers 10526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Aivazian, Varouj A. & Ge, Ying & Qiu, Jiaping, 2005. "The impact of leverage on firm investment: Canadian evidence," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-2), pages 277-291, March.
    12. Christopher Hennessy & Toni Whited, 2004. "Debt Dynamics," 2004 Meeting Papers 592, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Narayanan, M. P., 1988. "Debt versus Equity under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(01), pages 39-51, March.
    14. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan, 1990. " Evidence of Predictable Behavior of Security Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(3), pages 881-98, July.
    15. Mayer, Colin & Sussman, Oren, 2004. "A New Test of Capital Structure," CEPR Discussion Papers 4239, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Toni M. Whited & Guojun Wu, 2006. "Financial Constraints Risk," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(2), pages 531-559.
    17. Heinkel, Robert & Zechner, Josef, 1990. "The Role of Debt and Perferred Stock as a Solution to Adverse Investment Incentives," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(01), pages 1-24, March.
    18. Michael Faulkender & Mitchell A. Petersen, 2003. "Does the Source of Capital Affect Capital Structure?," NBER Working Papers 9930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Gibbons, Michael R & Ross, Stephen A & Shanken, Jay, 1989. "A Test of the Efficiency of a Given Portfolio," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(5), pages 1121-52, September.
    20. Michael J. Barclay & Erwan Morellec, 2006. "On the Debt Capacity of Growth Options," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(1), pages 37-60, January.
    21. Shyam-Sunder, Lakshmi & C. Myers, Stewart, 1999. "Testing static tradeoff against pecking order models of capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 219-244, February.
    22. Jung, Kooyul & Yong-Cheol, Kim & Stulz, Rene M., 1996. "Timing, investment opportunities, managerial discretion, and the security issue decision," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 159-185, October.
    23. Ahn, Seoungpil & Denis, David J. & Denis, Diane K., 2006. "Leverage and investment in diversified firms," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 317-337, February.
    24. Maria Vassalou & Yuhang Xing, 2004. "Default Risk in Equity Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(2), pages 831-868, 04.
    25. Malcolm Baker & Jeffrey Wurgler, 2002. "Market Timing and Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(1), pages 1-32, 02.
    26. Joao F. Gomes & Lukas Schmid, 2010. "Levered Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(2), pages 467-494, 04.
    27. Berens, James L & Cuny, Charles J, 1995. "The Capital Structure Puzzle Revisited," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(4), pages 1185-1208.
    28. George, Thomas J. & Hwang, Chuan-Yang, 2010. "A resolution of the distress risk and leverage puzzles in the cross section of stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 56-79, April.
    29. Sreedhar T. Bharath & Tyler Shumway, 2008. "Forecasting Default with the Merton Distance to Default Model," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(3), pages 1339-1369, May.
    30. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1995. " What Do We Know about Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1421-60, December.
    31. Eugene F. Fama, 2002. "Testing Trade-Off and Pecking Order Predictions About Dividends and Debt," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 1-33, March.
    32. Ilia D. Dichev, 1998. "Is the Risk of Bankruptcy a Systematic Risk?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(3), pages 1131-1147, 06.
    33. Loughran, Tim & Ritter, Jay R, 1995. " The New Issues Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 23-51, March.
    34. Stulz, ReneM., 1990. "Managerial discretion and optimal financing policies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 3-27, July.
    35. Peter MacKay & Gordon M. Phillips, 2005. "How Does Industry Affect Firm Financial Structure?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(4), pages 1433-1466.
    36. Dirk Hackbarth & Christopher A. Hennessy & Hayne E. Leland, 2007. "Can the Trade-off Theory Explain Debt Structure?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 20(5), pages 1389-1428, 2007 04.
    37. Huang, Rongbing & Ritter, Jay R., 2009. "Testing Theories of Capital Structure and Estimating the Speed of Adjustment," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(02), pages 237-271, April.
    38. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    39. DeAngelo, Harry & Masulis, Ronald W., 1980. "Optimal capital structure under corporate and personal taxation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 3-29, March.
    40. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1990. " Capital Structure and the Informational Role of Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 321-49, June.
    41. Myers, Stewart C, 1984. " The Capital Structure Puzzle," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(3), pages 575-92, July.
    42. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
    43. Maria‐Teresa Marchica & Roberto Mura, 2010. "Financial Flexibility, Investment Ability, and Firm Value: Evidence from Firms with Spare Debt Capacity," Financial Management, Financial Management Association International, vol. 39(4), pages 1339-1365, December.
    44. Lemmon, Michael L. & Zender, Jaime F., 2010. "Debt Capacity and Tests of Capital Structure Theories," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(05), pages 1161-1187, October.
    45. David A. Matsa, 2011. "Running on Empty? Financial Leverage and Product Quality in the Supermarket Industry," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 137-73, February.
    46. Stewart C. Myers, 1984. "Capital Structure Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 1393, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    47. Titman, Sheridan & Wessels, Roberto, 1988. " The Determinants of Capital Structure Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(1), pages 1-19, March.
    48. Carhart, Mark M, 1997. " On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 57-82, March.
    49. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1991. " The Theory of Capital Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 297-355, March.
    50. Myers, Stewart C., 1984. "Capital structure puzzle," Working papers 1548-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    51. Larry Lang & Eli Ofek & Rene M. Stulz, 1995. "Leverage, Investment, and Firm Growth," NBER Working Papers 5165, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    52. AYDOĞAN ALTI, 2006. "How Persistent Is the Impact of Market Timing on Capital Structure?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(4), pages 1681-1710, 08.
    53. Hovakimian, Armen & Hovakimian, Gayane & Tehranian, Hassan, 2004. "Determinants of target capital structure: The case of dual debt and equity issues," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 517-540, March.
    54. Leary, Mark T. & Roberts, Michael R., 2010. "The pecking order, debt capacity, and information asymmetry," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 332-355, March.
    55. Lorenzo Garlappi & Tao Shu & Hong Yan, 2008. "Default Risk, Shareholder Advantage, and Stock Returns," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(6), pages 2743-2778, November.
    56. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1997. "Industry costs of equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 153-193, February.
    57. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
    58. Opler, Tim C & Titman, Sheridan, 1994. " Financial Distress and Corporate Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(3), pages 1015-40, July.
    59. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    60. Fama, Eugene F & MacBeth, James D, 1973. "Risk, Return, and Equilibrium: Empirical Tests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 607-36, May-June.
    61. Alan V. S. Douglas, 2006. "Capital Structure, Compensation and Incentives," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(2), pages 605-632.
    62. Lyandres, Evgeny & Zhdanov, Alexei, 2010. "Accelerated investment effect of risky debt," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 2587-2599, November.
    63. Hovakimian, Armen, 2006. "Are Observed Capital Structures Determined by Equity Market Timing?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 221-243, March.
    64. Antoniou, Antonios & Guney, Yilmaz & Paudyal, Krishna, 2008. "The Determinants of Capital Structure: Capital Market-Oriented versus Bank-Oriented Institutions," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(01), pages 59-92, March.
    65. Armen Hovakimian, 2004. "The Role of Target Leverage in Security Issues and Repurchases," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1041-1072, October.
    66. Opler, Tim & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " The Determinants of Leveraged Buyout Activity: Free Cash Flow vs. Financial Distress Costs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1985-99, December.
    67. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1992. " The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 427-65, June.
    68. Yaz Gűlnur Muradoğlu & Sheeja Sivaprasad, 2012. "Using Firm‐Level Leverage as an Investment Strategy," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(3), pages 260-279, 04.
    69. Bhandari, Laxmi Chand, 1988. " Debt/Equity Ratio and Expected Common Stock Returns: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(2), pages 507-28, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:corfin:v:17:y:2011:i:3:p:391-402. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.