Quotation Bredendiek, Maximilian, Ottonello, Giorgio, Valkanov, Rossen. 2017. Corporate Bond Portfolios and Macroeconomic Uncertainty. EFMA 2017 Annual Conference, Athens, Greece, 28.06.-01.07.




We propose an approach to optimally select corporate bond portfolios based on bond-specific characteristics (maturity, credit rating, coupon, illiquidity, past performance, and issue size) and macroeconomic conditions (recessions and macroeconomic uncertainty measures). The approach relies on a parametric specification of the portfolio weights and allows us to consider a large cross-section of corporate bonds. During economic expansions, the optimal corporate bond portfolio is tilted toward bonds with longer maturity and worse credit rating (high ex-ante default risk), relative to the benchmark. By contrast, in periods of macroeconomic downturns and high uncertainty, the optimal strategy exhibits a flight-to-safety aspect and favors short maturity and relatively better rated bonds. In all regimes, corporate bonds with high coupons, high past performance, and small size of issuance lead to higher certainty equivalent returns. Overall, we find that the characteristics used in the corporate bond pricing literature to proxy for various sources of risk are also useful in forming corporate bond portfolios. Conditioning on these characteristics and macroeconomic variables leads to a significant improvement in portfolio performance, with the certainty equivalent increasing about 5% per annum after conservative transaction costs. The gain in performance is evenly divided between expansions and contractions and is not exclusively concentrated in high-yield bonds. We observe similar gains in portfolio performance out of sample.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title Corporate Bond Portfolios and Macroeconomic Uncertainty
Event EFMA 2017 Annual Conference
Year 2017
Date 28.06.-01.07.
Country Greece
Location Athens
URL http://www.efmaefm.org/
JEL G11, G12, C58, C13


Bredendiek, Maximilian (Former researcher)
Ottonello, Giorgio (Former researcher)
Valkanov, Rossen (UCSD Rady School of Management, United States/USA)
Institute for Financial Research IN (Details)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5323 Econometrics (Details)
5358 Corporate finances (Details)
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