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A simple indicator of systemic risk

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  • Patro, Dilip K.
  • Qi, Min
  • Sun, Xian

Abstract

We examine the relevance and effectiveness of stock return correlations among financial institutions as an indicator of systemic risk. By analyzing the trends and fluctuations of daily stock return correlations and default correlations among the 22 largest bank holding companies and investment banks from 1988 to 2008, we find that daily stock return correlation is a simple, robust, forward-looking, and timely systemic risk indicator. There is an increasing trend in stock return correlation among banks, whereas there is no obvious correlation trend among non-banks. We also disaggregate the stock returns into systematic and idiosyncratic components and find that the correlation increases are largely driven by the increases in correlations between banks’ idiosyncratic risks, which give rise to increasing systemic risk. Correlation spikes tend to predict or coincide with significant economic or market events, especially during the 2007–2008 financial crisis. Furthermore, we show that stock return correlations offer a perspective on the level of systemic risk in the financial sector that is not already captured by default correlations. Stock return correlations are not subject to data limitations or model specification errors that other potential systemic risk measures may face. Therefore, we recommend that regulators and businesses monitor daily stock return correlations among those large and highly leveraged financial institutions to track the level of systemic risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Patro, Dilip K. & Qi, Min & Sun, Xian, 2013. "A simple indicator of systemic risk," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 105-116.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:finsta:v:9:y:2013:i:1:p:105-116
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfs.2012.03.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Systemic risk; Correlation; Stock returns;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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