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Measuring the effect of watch-preceded and direct rating changes: a note on credit markets

Florian Kiesel () and Sascha Kolaric ()
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Florian Kiesel: Technische Universität Darmstadt
Sascha Kolaric: Technische Universität Darmstadt

Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, 2018, vol. 50, issue 2, 653-672

Abstract: Abstract This paper analyzes the importance of distinguishing between watch-preceded and direct rating changes for the credit default swap (CDS) market by examining a total of 2991 rating change announcements, 1526 watchlist placement announcements, and 430 rating affirmations following watchlist placements. The results show that watch-preceded downgrades do not lead to significant CDS market reactions, while direct downgrades are associated with a significant increase in CDS spread levels. Likewise, we document that watchlist placements for downgrade lead to increases in firms’ CDS spreads. CDS markets do not react to rating upgrades but watchlist placements for upgrade result in an immediate decrease in CDS spreads. Rating affirmations following watchlist placements for downgrade lead to slight reductions in CDS spreads, while affirmations following watchlist placements for upgrade have no effect on CDS spreads. These findings demonstrate the importance for empirical research on the interaction between credit markets and rating announcements to differentiate between watch-preceded and direct rating changes, particularly for rating downgrades.

Keywords: Credit default swaps (CDS); Credit rating; Credit watchlist; Credit quality; Event study (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G14 G23 G24 G32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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