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Bank Loans as a Financial Discipline: A Direct Agency Cost of Equity Perspective

Description: In a 2004 study, Harvey, Lin and Roper argue that debt makers with a commitment to monitoring can create value for outside shareholders whenever information asymmetry and agency costs are pronounced. I investigate Harvey, Lin and Roper's claim for bank loans by empirically testing the effect of information asymmetry and direct agency costs on the abnormal returns of the borrowers' stock around the announcement of bank loans. I divide my study into two main sections. The first section tests whether three proxies of the direct agency costs of equity are equally significant in measuring the direct costs associated with outside equity agency problems. I find that the asset utilization ratio proxy is the most statistically significant proxy of the direct agency costs of equity using a Chow F-test statistic. The second main section of my dissertation includes and event study and a cross-sectional analysis. The event study results document significant and positive average abnormal returns of 1.01% for the borrowers' stock on the announcement day of bank loans. In the cross sectional analysis of the borrowers' average abnormal stock returns, I find that higher quality and more reputable banks/lenders provide a reliable certification to the capital market about the low level of the borrowers' direct agency costs of equity and information asymmetry. This certification hypothesis holds only for renewed bank loans. In other words, in renewing the borrowers' line of credit, the bank/lender is actually confirming that the borrower has a low level of information asymmetry and direct costs of equity. Given such a certificate from the banks/lenders, shareholders reward the company/borrower by bidding the share price up in the capital market.
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Date: December 2006
Creator: Hijazi, Bassem

Changes in Trading Volume and Return Volatility Associated with S&P 500 Index Additions and Deletions

Description: When a stock is added into the S&P 500 Index, it is automatically "cross-listed" in the index derivative markets (i.e., S&P 500 Index futures and Index options). I examined the effects of such cross-listing on the trading volume and return volatility of the underlying component stocks. Traditional finance theory asserts that futures and "cash" markets are connected by arbitrage mechanism that brings both markets to equilibrium. When arbitrage opportunities arise, arbitrageurs buy (sell) the index portfolio and take short (long) positions in the corresponding index derivative contracts until prices return to theoretical levels. Such mechanical arbitrage trading tends to create large order flows that could be difficult for the market to absorb, resulting in price changes. Utilizing a list of S&P 500 index composition changes occurring over the period September 1976 to December 2005, I investigated the market-adjusted volume turnover ratios and return variances of the stocks being added to and deleted from the S&P 500, surrounding the effective day of index membership changes. My primary finding is that, after the introduction of the S&P 500 index futures and options contracts, stocks added to the S&P 500 experience significant increase in both trading volume and return volatility. However, deleted stocks experience no significant change in either trading volume or return volatility. Both daily and monthly return variances increase following index inclusion, consistent with the hypothesis that derivative transactions "fundamentally" destabilize the underlying securities. I argue that the increase in trading volume and return volatility may be attributed to index arbitrage transactions as derivative markets provide more routes for index arbitrageurs to trade. Other index trading strategies such as portfolio insurance and program trading may also contribute to the results. On the other hand, a deleted stock is not associated with changes in trading volume and volatility since it represents an ...
Date: December 2007
Creator: Lin, Cheng-I Eric

Crude Oil and Crude Oil Derivatives Transactions by Oil and Gas Producers.

Description: This study attempts to resolve two important issues. First, it investigates the diversification benefit of crude oil for equities. Second, it examines whether or not crude oil derivatives transactions by oil and gas producers can change shareholders' wealth. With these two major goals in mind, I study the risk and return profile of crude oil, the value effect of crude oil derivatives transactions, and the systematic risk exposure effect of crude oil derivatives transactions. In contrast with previous studies, this study applies the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index (GSCI) methodology to measure the risk and return profile of crude oil. The results show that crude oil is negatively correlated with stocks so adding crude oil into a portfolio with equities can provide significant diversification benefits for the portfolio. Given the diversification benefit of crude oil mixed with equities, this study then examines the value effect of crude oil derivatives transactions by oil and gas producers. Differing from traditional corporate risk management literature, this study examines corporate derivatives transactions from the shareholders' portfolio perspective. The results show that crude oil derivatives transactions by oil and gas producers do impact value. If oil and gas producing companies stop shorting crude oil derivatives contracts, company stock prices increase significantly. In contrast, if oil and gas producing companies start shorting crude oil derivatives contracts, stock prices drop marginally significantly. Thus, hedging by producers is not necessarily good. This paper, however, finds that changes in policy regarding crude oil derivatives transactions cannot significantly affect the beta of shareholders' portfolios. The value effect, therefore, cannot be attributed to any systematic risk exposure change of shareholders' portfolios. Market completeness, transaction costs, and economies of scale are identified as possible sources of value effect. The following conclusions have been obtained in this study. Crude oil provides significant diversification benefits ...
Date: December 2007
Creator: Xu, He

Empirical Evidence of Pricing Efficiency in Niche Markets

Description: Unique and proprietary data of the illiquid, one-year non cancelable for three month Bermudan swaps (1Y NC 3M swaps) and one-year non callable for three months Bermudan CDs (1Y NC 3M CDs), provides evidence of market efficiency. The 1Y NC 3M swap and 1Y NC 3M CD markets efficiently reflected unexpected economic information. The 1Y NC 3M swaption premiums also followed the European one-year into three-month (1Y into 3M) swaption volatilities. Swaption premiums were computed by pricing non-optional instruments using the quoted 1Y NC 3M swap rates and the par value swap rates and taking the difference between them. Swaption premiums ranged from a slight negative premium to a 0.21 percent premium. The average swaption premium during the study period was 0.02 percent to 0.04 percent. The initial swaption premiums were over 0.20 percent while the final swaption premiums were 0.02 percent to 0.04 percent. Premiums peaked and waned throughout the study period depending on market uncertainty as reflected in major national economic announcements, Federal Reserve testimonies and foreign currency devaluations. Negative swaption premiums were not necessarily irrational or quoting errors. Frequently, traders obligated to provide market quotes to customers do not have an interest and relay that lack of interest to the customer through a nonaggressive quote. The short-dated 1Y NC 3M swaption premiums closely followed 3M into 1Y swaption volatilities, indicating the 3M into 1Y swaption market closely follows the 1Y NC 3M swaption market and that similar market factors affect both markets or both markets efficiently share information. Movements in 1Y NC 3M swaption premiums and in 3M into 1Y swaption volatilities reflected a rational response by market participants to unexpected economic information. As market uncertainty decreased in the market place, risk measured both by swaption premiums and swaption volatilities decreased; vice verse when economic factors showed ...
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Date: May 2000
Creator: Koch, Sandra Idelle

An Empirical Investigation of Portfolios with Little Idiosyncratic Risk

Description: The objective of this study is to answer the following research question: How large is a diversified portfolio? Although previous work is abundant, very little progress has been made in answering this question since the seminal work of Evans and Archer (1968). This study proposes two approaches to address the research question. The first approach is to measure the rate of risk reduction as diversification increases. For the first approach, I identify two kinds of risks: (1) risk that portfolio returns vary across time (Evans and Archer (1968), and Campbell et al. (2001)); and (2) risk that returns vary across portfolios of the same size (Elton and Gruber (1977), and O'Neil (1997)). I show that the times series risk reaches an asymptote as portfolio size increases. Cross sectional risk, on the other hand, does not appears to reach an asymptote as portfolio size increases. The second approach consists of comparing portfolios' performance to a benchmark portfolio that is assumed to be diversified (Statman (1987)). I develop a performance index. The performance index is calculated, for any given test portfolio, as the ratio of the Sharpe-like measure of the test portfolio to the Sharpe-like measure of the benchmark portfolio that is assumed to be diversified. The index is based on the intuition that an increase in portfolio size reduces times series risk and cross sectional risk, and increases transaction costs. Portfolio size is worth increasing as long as the marginal increase in the performance index from a decrease in risk is greater than the marginal decrease of the performance index from an increase in transaction costs. Diversification is attained when the value of the index reaches one. The results of my simulations indicate that the size of a well diversified portfolio is at the very least 30. This number can be ...
Date: May 2004
Creator: Benjelloun, Hicham

Empirical Tests of the Signaling and Monitoring Hypotheses for Initial Public Offerings

Description: The research questions investigated are: 1. Are the expected post-issue fractional holdings of the directors and officers, venture capitalists and institutions signals of firm value? 2. Are the expected post-issue fractional holdings of the directors and officers, venture capitalists and institutions signals of underpricing? and 3. Are the directors and officers, venture capitalists and institutions monitors of IPO investments? The signaling theory developed by Grinblatt and Hwang (1989) (GH) and the monitoring theory for IPO investments have been used to develop the hypotheses for this dissertation. Four factors make my methodology unique. These factors are: 1. I apply and test the GH IPO signaling model over a unique data set collected from the IPO prospectuses, proxy statements and annual reports; 2. I disaggregate the expected post-issue holdings of the different groups of pre-issue blockholders and insiders and hypothesizes that these individual groups represents signals of firm value and underpricing; 3. I hypothesize that these groups, in aggregate and separately, monitor IPO investments over the long term; And 4. I develop signaling and monitoring hypotheses to make predictions at the two stages of the IPO. The results show that firm value is positively related to the level of underpricing, at a given variance of the firms cash flows; the level of underpricing is positively related to the holdings of the directors and officers as a group and the aggregate of the directors and officers, VCs and institutions, at given variances of the firm's cash flows; the firm value is not related to the level of underpricing, at a given level of capital outlay and holdings of either the aggregate blockholders, directors and officers, VCs or institutions. For the monitoring hypotheses, the results show that the long-run buy-and-hold-returns are positively related to the investment bank reputation and the gross spread. Also, the ...
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Date: May 2006
Creator: Gordon, Sean Anthony Garnet

Institutional ownership and dividend policy: A framework based on tax clientele, information signaling and agency costs.

Description: This study is an empirical examination of a new theory that links dividends to institutional ownership in a framework of both information signaling and agency costs. Under this theory put forth by Allen, Bernardo and Welch in 2000, dividends are paid out to attract tax-favored institutional investors, thereby signaling good firm quality and/or more efficient monitoring. This is based on the premise that institutions are considered sophisticated investors with superior ability and stronger incentive to be informed about the firm quality compared to retail investors. On the agency level, institutional investors display monitoring capabilities, and can detect and correct managerial pitfalls, thus their presence serves as an assurance that the firm will remain well run. The study provides a comprehensive analysis of the implications of the theory by testing various aspects of the relationship between dividends and institutional holdings. Unlike the prevalent literature on this topic, I give specific attention to the different types of institutional investors and their incentives to invest in dividend paying stocks. Moreover, I analyze the signaling and the agency effects on the market reaction to dividend initiations within the framework proposed by the theory. Finally, I test the smoothing effect institutions have on dividends by examining the firm's propensity to increase dividends given the level of institutional ownership. I find institutional holders to respond positively to dividend initiation announcements as they adjust their portfolios by buying or increasing their holdings of the dividend paying stock following the announcement. I also find that this response is displayed more strongly among tax-favored institutions. My test results also reveal that positive abnormal returns to dividend initiation announcements are a decreasing function of institutional holdings in the dividend initiating firm, and that this mitigating effect of institutional ownership on the market reaction to dividend initiations is stronger for firms ...
Date: August 2008
Creator: Zaghloul Bichara, Lina

Reconciling capital structure theories in predicting the firm's decisions.

Description: Past literature attempts to resolve the issue of the motivation behind managers' choice of a given capital structure. Despite several decades of intensive research, there is still no consensus about which theory dominates capital structure decisions. The present study empirically investigates the relative importance of two prominent theories of capital structure- the trade-off and the pecking order theories by exploring the conditions under which each theory can explain the financing choices of firms. These conditions are defined along two dimensions: (i) a firm's degree of information asymmetry, and (ii) its observed leverage relative to target leverage. The results show that, in the short-run, pecking order theory has more explanatory power in explaining the financing choices of firms. The target leverage theory assumes limited importance: Over-leveraged firms, when faced with low adverse information, are more inclined to adapt to the trade-off policies. In the presence of high information asymmetry, however, firms appear to be more concerned about adverse selection costs and make financing decisions that are more consistent with the pecking order theory. An analysis of the market reaction to seasoned equity issuances during announcement periods reveals that firms with high information asymmetry are penalized more than firms with low information asymmetry. This may explain the contradiction when over-leveraged firms continue to issue debt. However, the situation is reversed in the long run. Firms' long term financing goals appear to follow the leverage re-balancing theory. An analysis of financial activities over a five-year period, subsequent to security issuance decisions when they appear to be inconsistent with trade-off theory, reveals that firms follow an active policy of moving closer to the target leverage. In sum, the notion of target capital structure appears to exist. In the short-term, the management's financing decisions are consistent with the modified version of the pecking order theory, ...
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Date: December 2006
Creator: Palkar, Darshana

What insight do market participants gain from dividend increases?

Description: This study examines the reactions of market makers and investors to large dividend increases to identify the motives for dividend increases. Uniquely, this study simultaneously tests the signaling and agency abatement motivations as explanations of the impact of dividend increases on stock prices and bid-ask spreads. The agency abatement hypothesis argues that increased dividends constrict management's future behavior, abating the agency problem with shareholders. The signaling hypothesis asserts that dividend increases signal that managers expect higher or more stable cash flows in the future. Mean stock price responses to dividend increase announcements during 1995 are examined over both short ( _1, 0) and long ( _1, 504) windows. Changes in bid-ask spreads are examined over a short ( _1, 0) window and an intermediate (81 day) period. This study partitions dividend increases into a sample motivated by agency abatement and a sample motivated by cash flow signaling. Further, this study examines the agency abatement and cash flow signaling explanations of relative bid-ask spread responses to announcements of dividend increases. Estimated generalized least squares models of market reactions to sampled events support the agency abatement hypothesis over the cash flow signaling hypothesis as a motive for large dividend increases as measured by Tobin's Q and changes in the distribution of cash flows.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Ellis, R. Barry

Which version of the equity market timing affects capital structure, perceived mispricing or adverse selection?

Description: Baker and Wurgler (2002) define a new theory of capital structure. In this theory capital structure evolves as the cumulative outcome of past attempts to time the equity market. Baker and Wurgler extend market timing theory to long-term capital structure, but their results do not clearly distinguish between the two versions of market timing: perceived mispricing and adverse selection. The main purpose of this dissertation is to empirically identify the relative importance of these two explanations. First, I retest Baker and Wurgler's theory by using insider trading as an alternative to market-to-book ratio to measure equity market timing. I also formally test the adverse selection model of the equity market timing: first by using post-issuance performance, and then by using three measures of adverse selection. The first two measures use estimates of adverse information costs based on the bid and ask prices, and the third measure is based on the close-to-offer returns. Based on received theory, a dynamic adverse selection model implies that higher adverse information costs lead to higher leverage. On the other hand, a naïve adverse selection model implies that negative inside information leads to lower leverage. The results are consistent with the equity market timing theory of capital structure. The results also indicate that a naïve, as opposed to a dynamic, adverse selection model seems to be the best explanation as to why managers time equity issues.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Chazi, Abdelaziz