Institutional herding in the corporate bond market
We find substantial herding in U.S. corporate bonds among bond fund managers, much higher than that previously documented for the equity market. Herding is generally stronger among illiquid bonds, and buy herding and sell herding are driven by different factors. In particular, sell herding increases on negative news about bond ratings and corporate earnings. Interestingly, increases in ex-post transparency in corporate bond trading through Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) led to higher buy herding but not to higher sell herding. Finally, we find significant return reversals in the post-herding quarters, especially for sell herding and for junk bonds. Price reversal is most prominent when funds herd to sell illiquid bonds, which suggests that temporary price pressure is the reason behind price reversal.
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