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Hidden in the Factors? The Effect of Credit Risk on the Cross-section of Equity Returns

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Abstract

This paper disentangles the complexity of the distress risk premium in stock returns using the risk-neutral measure of credit risk (valued by CDS spread) and investigates the relationship between credit risk and the market , size, value, and momentum effects. Consistent with the argument for a negative distress premium, firms with higher credit risk have lower stock returns, and a positive value effect is concentrated in high credit quality firms. However, credit risk is positively priced in returns on stocks that won the most in the past year and that, during crisis, co-moved the most with the market. A positive momentum effect is concentrated in high credit risk firms. Furthermore, the size effect, but not the value effect, could be attributed to a positive credit risk effect.

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  • Nielsen, Caren Yinxia, 2011. "Hidden in the Factors? The Effect of Credit Risk on the Cross-section of Equity Returns," Working Papers 2011:38, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 01 Oct 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2011_038
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    Cited by:

    1. Yinxia G. Nielsen , Caren, 2013. "Is Default Risk Priced in Equity Returns?," Knut Wicksell Working Paper Series 2013/2, Lund University, Knut Wicksell Centre for Financial Studies.
    2. Ferreira Filipe, Sara & Grammatikos, Theoharry & Michala, Dimitra, 2014. "Pricing Default Risk: The Good, The Bad, and The Anomaly," MPRA Paper 53373, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asset pricing; equity returns; size effect; value effect; momentum effect; credit risk effect; credit default swap;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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