Corporate Derivatives Use and the Cost of Equity
Clayton State University
Gerald D. Gay
Georgia State University - Department of Finance
Stephen D. Smith
June 22, 2010
We investigate the relation between derivatives use and corporations’ cost of equity capital. Using a large sample of non-financial firms, we compute and analyze (i) the relative cost of equity of firms that use derivatives and those that do not; and (ii) the change in cost of equity experienced by firms initiating derivatives programs. We find that the cost of equity of derivatives users is lower than non-users by 24-78 basis points. Our results are robust to specifications that account for potential endogeneity related to a firm’s derivatives use and capital structure decisions. We further find that the reduction in the cost of equity is attributable to both lower market beta and SMB beta, suggesting that firms use derivatives to reduce their financial distress risk and that this distress risk has a systematic component that is priced in the market. Finally, the observed reductions in the cost of equity tend to be largest for smaller firms and for firms utilizing currency and interest rate derivatives.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 40
Keywords: Derivatives, Risk Management, Asset Pricing, Financial Distress Risk
JEL Classification: G12, G13, G32working papers series
Date posted: November 10, 2010 ; Last revised: November 14, 2010
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