The Cross-Sectional Pricing of Corporate Bonds Using Big Data and Machine Learning
64 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2020 Last revised: 21 Dec 2020
Date Written: July 24, 2020
We provide a comprehensive study on the cross-sectional predictability of corporate bond returns using big data and machine learning. We examine whether a large set of equity and bond characteristics drive the expected returns on corporate bonds. Using either set of characteristics, we find that machine learning methods substantially improve the out-of-sample predictive power for bond returns, compared to the traditional linear regression models. While equity characteristics produce significant explanatory power for bond returns, their incremental predictive power relative to bond characteristics is economically and statistically insignificant. Bond characteristics provide as strong forecasting power for future equity returns as using equity characteristics alone. However, bond characteristics do not offer additional predictive power above and beyond equity characteristics when we combine both sets of predictors.
Keywords: machine learning, big data, corporate bond returns, cross-sectional return predictability
JEL Classification: G10, G11, C13
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