Prices and Volatilities in the Corporate Bond Market
Charles A. Dice Center Working Paper No. 2015-18
63 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 27, 2015
We document a strong positive cross-sectional relation between corporate bond yield spreads and bond return volatilities. As corporate bond prices are generally attributable to both credit risk and illiquidity as discussed in Huang and Huang (2012), we apply a decomposition methodology to quantify the relative contributions of credit and illiquidity. Overall, our credit and illiquidity proxies can explain almost three quarters of the yield spread-bond volatility relation with credit and illiquidity contributing in a 70:30 ratio. Furthermore, we find that the credit portion of the yield spread-bond volatility relation is important even after controlling for equity volatility. The relation between yield spreads and volatilities is robust to different sample periods, including the financial crisis. We also find the ratio to be smaller for the investment-grade sub-sample, consistent with credit risk being relatively more important for understanding the yield spread-volatility relation in speculative-grade bonds.
Keywords: Bond volatility, Yield spreads, Credit risk, Illiquidity, Decomposition
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation