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The Impact of Rating Changes in Australian Financial Markets

  • Adam Creighton

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Luke Gower

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

  • Anthony Richards

    (Reserve Bank of Australia)

This paper tests the response of bond yield spreads and equity prices to credit rating changes in the Australian financial market. Unlike some earlier studies for foreign markets, we find evidence that both yield spreads and equity prices move in the ‘expected’ direction following rating changes. However, the impacts are relatively small. In addition, in the case of downgrades and equity returns, we find evidence of large movements in prices in the six months prior to the rating announcement, suggesting that rating changes are largely validating information that has already been factored into equity prices. We also find that announcement effects are larger for small firms, for re-ratings from investment to speculative grade, and for cases where agencies have not indicated that the rating is under review.

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Paper provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Research Discussion Papers with number rdp2004-02.

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Date of creation: Mar 2004
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Handle: RePEc:rba:rbardp:rdp2004-02
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  1. Allen N. Berger & Sally M. Davies & Mark J. Flannery, 2000. "Comparing market and supervisory assessments of bank performance: who knows what when?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 641-670.
  2. Holthausen, Robert W. & Leftwich, Richard W., 1986. "The effect of bond rating changes on common stock prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 57-89, September.
  3. Doron Kliger & Oded Sarig, 2000. "The Information Value of Bond Ratings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(6), pages 2879-2902, December.
  4. A. Craig MacKinlay, 1997. "Event Studies in Economics and Finance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 13-39, March.
  5. C. H. Furfine & Jeffery D. Amato, 2003. "Are credit ratings procyclical?," BIS Working Papers 129, Bank for International Settlements.
  6. Ederington, Louis H. & Goh, Jeremy C., 1998. "Bond Rating Agencies and Stock Analysts: Who Knows What When?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(04), pages 569-585, December.
  7. Philip Lowe, 2002. "Credit risk measurement and procyclicality," BIS Working Papers 116, Bank for International Settlements.
  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. Gropp, Reint & Richards, Anthony J., 2001. "Rating agency actions and the pricing of debt and equity of European banks: What can we infer about private sector monitoring of bank soundness?," Working Paper Series 0076, European Central Bank.
  10. Goh, Jeremy C & Ederington, Louis H, 1993. " Is a Bond Rating Downgrade Bad News, Good News, or No News for Stockholders?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 2001-08, December.
  11. 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 733-52, June.
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