Relative Peer Quality and Firm Performance
Journal of Financial Economics,
We examine the performance impact of the relative quality of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)’s compensation peers (peers to determine a CEO's overall compensation) and bonus peers (peers to determine a CEO's relative-performance-based bonus). We use the fraction of peers with greater managerial ability scores (Demerjian, Lev, and McVay, 2012) than the reporting firm to measure this CEO's relative peer quality (RPQ). We find that firms with higher RPQ earn higher stock returns and experience higher profitability growth than firms with lower RPQ. Learning among peers and the increased incentive to work harder induced by the peer-based tournament contribute to RPQ's performance effect.
29.09.2016 • 40/2016
Joint Economic Forecast: German Economy on Track – Economic Policy needs to be Realigned
Thanks to a stable job market and solid consumption, the German economy is experiencing a moderate upswing. The GDP is expected to increase by 1.9 percent this year, 1.4 percent in 2017, and 1.6 percent in 2018, according to the Gemeinschaftsdiagnose (GD, joint economic forecast) that was prepared by five of Europe’s leading economic research institutes on behalf of the Federal Government. The most recent GD, which was released in April, predicted a GDP growth rate of 1.6 percent for 2016 and 1.5 percent for 2017.
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20.06.2016 • 24/2016
Financial market reaction to poll data suggests strong effects of a Brexit on exchange rates and the banking system both in the UK and in the EU
On 23 June 2016, there will be a referendum in the United Kingdom (UK) on the question of whether or not the country should remain in the European Union (EU). We use the polls as a measure of the likelihood of an exit to examine the likely effect of a Brexit on financial markets. “Whenever the probability in the polls of a Brexit moves above 50%, we observe a substantial depreciation of the UK pound with respect to most major currencies (including the euro), and strong decline in bank stock prices, suggesting that markets feel the financial sector (both in the UK and the EU) will be most severely affected by a Brexit”, IWH President Reint E. Gropp says. There is little effect on the euro/US Dollar exchange rate. “A huge concern is that overall market volatility both in the UK and the EU are on record highs since last Thursday, reflecting the higher uncertainty associated with Brexit and how exactly, if it happened, it would come about.” Within the UK, we see some evidence for a flight to safety into UK government bonds, but no effects for German bonds.
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In Search of Concepts: The Effects of Speculative Demand on Stock Returns
European Financial Management,
Using a novel proxy of investors' speculative demand constructed from online search interest in investment concepts, we examine how speculative demand affects the returns of Chinese stocks. We find that speculative demand increases following high market returns and predicts subsequent return reversals. Moreover, the speculative demand explains more variation in subsequent returns of A shares (more populated by retail investors) than B shares (less populated by retail investors). Our findings support the recently developed attention theory.
24.09.2015 • 38/2015
German Households Benefit from Low Interest Environment
Calculations of the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) – Member of the Leibniz Association show that the average household in Germany has benefited from the low policy rate environment. The average return on their portfolio was higher than in the pre-crisis period while at the same time, they benefited from lower interest on new loans. Households in Germany had a total Euro benefit of more than 364 billion Euro over a five-year period relative to 2003 to 2007. Increases in stock prices and real estate prices over-compensate lower interest rates on savings accounts, despite their relatively low share in households’ portfolios. There are benefits across the income distribution. Households that do not own real estate lost though, but their losses are very small at on average about 100 Euro per year.
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An Empirical Analysis of Legal Insider Trading in The Netherlands
In this paper, we employ a registry of legal insider trading for Dutch listed firms to investigate the information content of trades by corporate insiders. Using a standard event-study methodology, we examine short-term stock price behavior around trades. We find that purchases are followed by economically large abnormal returns. This result is strongest for purchases by top executives and for small market capitalization firms, which is consistent with the hypothesis that legal insider trading is an important channel through which information flows to the market. We analyze also the impact of the implementation of the Market Abuse Directive (European Union Directive 2003/6/EC), which strengthens the existing regulation in the Netherlands. We show that the new regulation reduced the information content of sales by top executives.
Sovereign Credit Risk, Banks' Government Support, and Bank Stock Returns around the World: Discussion of Correa, Lee, Sapriza, and Suarez
Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 46 (s1),
In the years leading up to the 2008–09 financial crisis, many banks around the world greatly expanded their balance sheets to take advantage of cheap and abundantly available funding. Access to international funding markets, in particular, made it possible for banks to reach a size that in some cases was a large multiple of their home countries’ gross domestic product (GDP). In Iceland, for example, assets of the banking system reached up to 900% of GDP in 2007. Similarly, by the end of 2008, assets in UK and Swiss banks exceeded 500% of their countries’ GDPs, respectively. Banks may also have grown rapidly because they may have wanted to reach too-big-to-fail status in their country, implying even lower funding cost (Penas and Unal 2004).
The depth and severity of the 2008–09 financial crisis and the subsequent debt crisis in Europe, however, have cast doubts on the ability of governments to bail out banks when they experience severe difficulties, in particular, in financially fragile environments and faced with large budget imbalances. This has resulted in as what some observers have dubbed a “doom loop”: the combination of weak public finances and weak banks results in a vicious cycle, in which the funding cost of banks increases, as the ability of governments to bail out banks is called into question, in turn increasing the funding cost of these banks and making the likelihood that the government will actually have to step in even higher, which in turn increases funding cost to the government and so forth.
Against this background, the paper by Correa et al. (2014) explores the link between sovereign rating changes and bank stock returns. They show large negative reactions of stock returns in response to sovereign ratings downgrades for banks that are expected to receive government support in case of failure. They find the strongest effects in developed economies, where the credibility of government bail outs is higher ex ante, while the effects are smaller in developing and emerging economies. In my view, the paper makes a number of important contributions to the extant literature.
Stale Information, Shocks, and Volatility
Journal of Money, Credit and Banking,
We propose a new approach to measuring the effect of unobservable private information on volatility. Using intraday data, we estimate the effect of a well-identified shock on the volatility of stock returns of European banks as a function of the quality of public information available about the banks. We hypothesize that as publicly available information becomes stale, volatility effects and its persistence increase, as private information of investors becomes more important. We find strong support for this idea in the data. We further show that stock volatility is higher just before important announcements if information is stale.
Extreme Dependence with Asymmetric Thresholds: Evidence for the European Monetary Union
Journal of Banking & Finance,
Existing papers on extreme dependence use symmetrical thresholds to define simultaneous stock market booms or crashes such as the joint occurrence of the upper or lower one percent return quantile in both stock markets. We show that the probability of the joint occurrence of extreme stock returns may be higher for asymmetric thresholds than for symmetric thresholds. We propose a non-parametric measure of extreme dependence which allows capturing extreme events for different thresholds and can be used to compute different types of extreme dependence. We find that extreme dependence among the stock markets of ten initial EMU member countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States is largely asymmetrical in the pre-EMU period (1989–1998) and largely symmetrical in the EMU period (1999–2010). Our findings suggest that ignoring the possibility of asymmetric extreme dependence may lead to an underestimation of the probability of co-booms and co-crashes.
What Can Currency Crisis Models Tell Us about the Risk of Withdrawal from the EMU? Evidence from ADR Data
Journal of Common Market Studies,
We study whether ADR (American depositary receipt) investors perceive the risk that countries such as Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal or Spain could leave the eurozone to address financial problems produced by the sub-prime crisis. Using daily data, we analyse the impact of vulnerability measures related to currency crisis theories on ADR returns. We find that ADR returns fall when yield spreads of sovereign bonds or CDSs (credit default swaps) rise (i.e. when debt crisis risk increases); when banks' CDS premiums rise or stock returns fall (i.e. when banking crisis risk increases); or when the euro's overvaluation increases (i.e. when the risk of competitive devaluation increases).