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Empirical Analysis and Trading Strategies for Defaulted Debt Securities with Models for Risk and Investment Management

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Abstract

This study empirically analyzes the historical performance of defaulted debt from Moody’s Ultimate Recovery Database (1987-2010). Motivated by a stylized structural model of credit risk with systematic recovery risk, we argue and find evidence that returns on defaulted debt co-vary with determinants of the market risk premium, firm specific and structural factors. Defaulted debt returns in our sample are observed to be increasing in collateral quality or debt cushion of the issue. Returns are also increasing for issuers having superior ratings at origination, more leverage at default, higher cumulative abnormal returns on equity prior to default, or greater market implied loss severity at default. Considering systematic factors, returns on defaulted debt are positively related to equity market indices and industry default rates. On the other hand, defaulted debt returns decrease with short-term interest rates. In a rolling out-of-time and out-of-sample resampling experiment we show that our leading model exhibits superior performance. We also document the economic significance of these results through excess abnormal returns, implementing a hypothetical trading strategy, of around 5-6% (2-3%) assuming zero (1bp per month) round-trip transaction costs. These results are of practical relevance to investors and risk managers in this segment of the fixed income market.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacobs, Jr., Michael, 2011. "Empirical Analysis and Trading Strategies for Defaulted Debt Securities with Models for Risk and Investment Management," Journal of Financial Transformation, Capco Institute, vol. 32, pages 59-74.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:jofitr:1458
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Distressed Debt; Recoveries; Default; Credit Risk;

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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