The Network of Firms Implied by the News
61 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2020
Date Written: January 2020
We show that the news is a rich source of data on distressed firm links that drive firm-level and aggregate risks. The news tends to report about links in which a less popular firm is distressed and may contaminate a more popular firm. This constitutes a contagion channel that yields predictable returns and downgrades. Shocks to the degree of news-implied firm connectivity predict increases in aggregate volatilities, credit spreads, and default rates, and declines in output. To obtain our results, we propose a machine learning methodology that takes text data as input and outputs a data-implied firm network.
Keywords: contagion, machine learning, natural language processing, networks, predictability, risk measurement
JEL Classification: E32, E44, L11, G10, C82
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