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Momentum in the European Corporate Bond Market: The Role of Bond-Specific Returns

Posted: 24 Sep 2015 Last revised: 5 Oct 2017

Florian Barth

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg

Hendrik Scholz

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg

Matthias Stegmeier, CFA

Nürnberger Lebensversicherung AG

Date Written: September 4, 2017


This paper analyzes momentum patterns in the European corporate bond market. We study a broad sample of Euro-denominated investment grade and noninvestment grade bonds covering the period January 2004 to October 2016. Our empirical findings reveal that momentum is mainly concentrated among noninvestment grade bonds. Furthermore, the composition of the momentum portfolios varies over time and is related to bond characteristics. Taking this into account, we apply characteristics-based adjustments in context with performance measurement and find momentum profits to remain robust. Most importantly, bond-specific return components seem to drive momentum patterns, indicating gradual information diffusion in bond prices.

Keywords: Fixed income; corporate bonds; momentum; time-varying performance; credit cycles; information diffusion.

JEL Classification: G11, G12, G14

Suggested Citation

Barth, Florian and Scholz, Hendrik and Stegmeier, CFA, Matthias, Momentum in the European Corporate Bond Market: The Role of Bond-Specific Returns (September 4, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Florian Barth (Contact Author)

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg ( email )

Lange Gasse 20
Nuremberg, 90403

Hendrik Scholz

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg ( email )

Finance and Banking
Lange Gasse 20
Nürnberg, Bavaria 90403
0049-911-5302649 (Phone)
0049-911-5302466 (Fax)


Matthias Stegmeier

Nürnberger Lebensversicherung AG ( email )

Ostendstr. 100
Nürnberg, 90334

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