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Cici, Gjergji
Gibson, Scott
Moussawi, Rabih
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
CFR Working Paper 17-03
We evaluate how different betas and characteristics related to default, term, and liquidity risk fare against one another in explaining the cross-section of corporate bond returns. We find that characteristics-credit rating, duration, and Amihud illiquidity measure-fare better. Yields add incremental explanatory power. Consistent with yields providing a timelier assessment of default risk than ratings, bonds with higher yields but similar credit ratings, durations and Amihud measures experience more subsequent ratings downgrades, fewer upgrades, and a higher frequency of defaults. Based on our findings, we present characteristic portfolios that can be used to benchmark individual bond and portfolio returns.
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Working Paper

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