The Risk of Being a Fallen Angel and the Corporate Dash for Cash in the Midst of COVID

57 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2020 Last revised: 21 Aug 2020

See all articles by Viral V. Acharya

Viral V. Acharya

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sascha Steffen

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2020

Abstract

Data on firm-loan-level daily credit line drawdowns in the United States reveals a corporate "dash for cash" induced by COVID-19. In the first phase of extreme precaution and heightened aggregate risk, all firms drew down bank credit lines and raised cash levels. In the second phase following the adoption of stabilization policies, only the highest-rated firms switched to capital markets to raise cash. Consistent with the risk of becoming a fallen angel, the lowest-quality BBB-rated firms behaved more similarly to non-investment grade firms. The observed corporate behavior reveals the significant impact of credit risk on corporate cash holdings.

Keywords: Bank lines of credit, cash holdings, liquidity, liquidity risk, Pandemic

JEL Classification: G01, G14, G32, G35

Suggested Citation

Acharya, Viral V. and Steffen, Sascha, The Risk of Being a Fallen Angel and the Corporate Dash for Cash in the Midst of COVID (July 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15073, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3661416

Viral V. Acharya (Contact Author)

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

HOME PAGE: http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~sternfin/vacharya/public_html/~vacharya.htm

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Sascha Steffen

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management ( email )

Adickesallee
32-34
Frankfurt, 60322
Germany
16097326929 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sascha-steffen.de

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