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Good news is no news? The impact of credit rating changes on the pricing of asset-backed securities

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  • John Ammer
  • Nathanael Clinton

Abstract

We assess the impact of credit ratings on the pricing of structured financial products, using a sample of more than 1300 changes in Moody's or Standard and Poor's (S&P) ratings of U.S. asset-backed securities (ABS). We find that rating downgrades tend to be accompanied by negative returns and widening spreads, with the average effects stronger than those that have been reported in prior research on corporate and sovereign bond ratings. A portion of the negative implications of ABS downgrades are anticipated by price movements ahead of the rating action, although to a lesser degree than has been found for bond ratings. Accordingly, ABS market participants appear to rely somewhat more on rating agencies as a source of negative news about credit risk. Nevertheless, because ABS rating downgrades are relatively rare events, their effects account for only a small fraction of the variance of returns. In contrast to our results on downgrades, market reactions to ABS rating upgrades are virtually zero, on average. Together, the results imply even greater asymmetry in the value-relevance of ABS rating changes than has been found in event studies of changes in bond ratings.

Suggested Citation

  • John Ammer & Nathanael Clinton, 2004. "Good news is no news? The impact of credit rating changes on the pricing of asset-backed securities," International Finance Discussion Papers 809, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:809
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fayez Elayan & Wei Hsu & Thomas Meyer, 2003. "The informational content of credit rating announcements for share prices in a small market," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 27(3), pages 337-356, September.
    2. Creighton, Adam & Gower, Luke & Richards, Anthony J., 2007. "The impact of rating changes in Australian financial markets," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-17, January.
    3. Hand, John R M & Holthausen, Robert W & Leftwich, Richard W, 1992. " The Effect of Bond Rating Agency Announcements on Bond and Stock Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 733-752, June.
    4. John Y. Campbell & Glen B. Taksler, 2003. "Equity Volatility and Corporate Bond Yields," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2321-2350, December.
    5. Reisen, Helmut & von Maltzan, Julia, 1999. "Boom and Bust and Sovereign Ratings," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(2), pages 273-293, July.
    6. Daniel M. Covitz & Paul Harrison, 2003. "Testing conflicts of interest at bond rating agencies with market anticipation: evidence that reputation incentives dominate," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-68, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. G. Ferri & L.-G. Liu & J. E. Stiglitz, 1999. "The Procyclical Role of Rating Agencies: Evidence from the East Asian Crisis," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 28(3), pages 335-355, November.
    8. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Determinants and impact of sovereign credit ratings," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Oct, pages 37-53.
    9. Brooks, Robert & Faff, Robert W. & Hillier, David & Hillier, Joseph, 2004. "The national market impact of sovereign rating changes," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 233-250, January.
    10. Steiner, Manfred & Heinke, Volker G, 2001. "Event Study Concerning International Bond Price Effects of Credit Rating Actions," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(2), pages 139-157, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bissoondoyal-Bheenick, Emawtee & Brooks, Robert & Treepongkaruna, Sirimon, 2015. "Do asset backed securities ratings matter on average?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 32-43.
    2. Maciej Firla-Cuchra, 2005. "Explaining Launch Spreads on Structured Bonds," Economics Series Working Papers 230, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Vink, Dennis, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis of Asset-Backed Securitization," MPRA Paper 10382, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 25 Aug 2008.
    4. Maciej Firla-Cuchra & Tim Jenkinson, 2005. "Security Design in the Real World: Why are Securitization Issues Tranched?," Economics Series Working Papers 225, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. Ferri, Giovanni & Lacitignola, Punziana & Lee, Jeong Yeon, 2013. "Foreign ownership and the credibility of national rating agencies: Evidence from Korea," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 762-776.

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    Keywords

    Asset-backed financing ; Credit ratings;

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