Corporate Immunity to the COVID-19 Pandemic
77 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2020 Last revised: 28 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 10, 2020
We evaluate the connection between corporate characteristics and the reaction of stock returns to COVID-19 cases using data on over 6,700 firms across 61 economies. The pandemic-induced drop in stock returns was milder among firms with (a) stronger pre-2020 finances (more cash and undrawn credit, less total and short-term debt, and larger profits), (b) less exposure to COVID-19 through global supply chains and customer locations, (c) more CSR activities, and (d) less entrenched executives. Furthermore, the stock returns of firms controlled by families (especially through direct holdings and with non-family managers), large corporations, and governments performed better, and those with greater ownership by hedge funds and other asset management companies performed worse. Stock markets positively price small amounts of managerial ownership but negatively price high-levels of managerial ownership during the pandemic.
Keywords: Corporate Resilience; COVID-19; Financial Risk; Supply Chain; CSR; Ownership; Governance; Entrenchment
JEL Classification: G3; F23; I10; M12; M14
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation