, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 239-264
Date: 14 Jun 2012

CDS and rating announcements: changing signaling during the crisis?

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In parallel with the development of credit derivatives market, researchers have begun to explore the relationship between Credit Default Swap (CDS) market and rating events. Many papers, via classical event-study methodology, show that CDS market is able to signal future negative rating events announced by credit rating agencies. In this work, we incorporate into the event-study methodology the ability of Markov switching models in modeling state-dependent means and variances. This approach allows to get over the drawbacks of the classical methodology, which ignores the heteroscedasticity and volatility clustering often affecting financial time series. The proposed methodology is applied to study the reactions of CDS quotes to reviews for downgrading and effective downgradings announced by the three major credit rating agencies (Fitch Ratings, Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s), in order to examine if and to what extent CDS market anticipates announcements related with a company’s creditworthiness. The analysis, focusing mainly on volatility, is performed on two periods, 2004–2006 and 2007–2009, in order to verify whether a change in the signaling power of CDS quotes can be ascribed to recent financial turmoils.