Asymmetric Reactions of Abnormal Audit Fees Jump to Credit Rating Changes
British Accounting Review,
Considering the inherent stickiness of abnormal audit fees, our study contributes to the literature by decomposing abnormal audit fees into a jump component and long-run sticky component. We investigate whether and how changes in credit ratings asymmetrically affect the jump component of abnormal audit fees. We document a positive association between rating downgrades and the jump component. We find that heightened bankruptcy risk and misstatement risk are the mechanisms that drive this relationship. Further analysis shows that firms experiencing rating downgrades are more likely to receive a going concern opinion and experience longer audit report lags. Taken together, our findings provide direct evidence that credit ratings are significantly associated with abnormal audit fees, particularly with the jump component. Given the serial correlation of abnormal audit fees, our study sheds light on the importance of disaggregation of the abnormal audit fee residuals into the jump and long-run sticky components.
Regulation and Information Costs of Sovereign Distress: Evidence from Corporate Lending Markets
Journal of Corporate Finance,
We examine the effect of sovereign credit impairments on the pricing of syndicated loans following rating downgrades in the borrowing firms' countries of domicile. We find that the sovereign ceiling policies used by credit rating agencies create a disproportionately adverse impact on the bounded firms' borrowing costs relative to other domestic firms following their sovereign's rating downgrade. Rating-based regulatory frictions partially explain our results. On the supply-side, loans carry a higher spread when granted from low-capital banks, non-bank lenders, and banks with high market power. We further document an operating demand-side channel, contingent on borrowers' size, financial constraints, and global diversification. Our results can be attributed to the relative bargaining power between lenders and borrowers: relationship borrowers and non-bank dependent borrowers with alternative financing sources are much less affected.
Political Ties and the Yield Curve
We examine the effect of political ties with the US on sovereign yields and ratings at various horizons. We find beneficial effects across both short- and long-term yields and ratings. Specifically, we find that stronger political ties with the US affect mainly the level of the yield curve of foreign sovereign bonds. These results imply that the market perceives political ties with the US as having both near- and long-term beneficial consequences.
Market-implied Ratings and Their Divergence from Credit Ratings
Journal of Financial Research,
In this article, we investigate the divergence between credit ratings (CRs) and Moody's market-implied ratings (MIRs). Our evidence shows that rating gaps provide incremental information to the market regarding issuers' default risk over CRs alone in the short horizon and outperform CRs over extended horizons. The predictive ability of rating gaps is greater for more opaque and volatile issuers. Such predictability was more pronounced during the 2008 financial crisis but weakened in the post-Dodd-Frank Act period. This finding is consistent with credit rating agencies' efforts to improve their performance when facing regulatory pressure. Moreover, our analysis identifies rating-gap signals that do (do not) lead to subsequent Moody's actions to place issuers on negative outlook and watchlists. We find that negative signals from MIR gaps have a real economic impact on issuers' fundamentals such as profitability, leverage, investment, and default risk, thus supporting the recovery-efforts hypothesis.
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