High Yield Bonds (--> Wiki)

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Barry Barnitz
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High Yield Bonds (--> Wiki)

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An expanded version of this page can be found on The Bogleheads Wiki.

(papers needed)

Definition: High Yield Bond


1. Credit Risk: How Much? When? by William Bernstein
Belief in the efficient market theory does not relieve one of the duty to estimate asset-class returns. Because of the term structure of high-yield bonds, returns will tend to mean-revert more quickly, and more surely, than equity. Yes, there is risk. But when their long-term expected returns start approaching 5% over Treasuries (as they did not so long ago), it looks like a risk worth taking with a small corner of one?s portfolio. One caveat: Because most of the return, similar to REITs, accrues as ordinary income, junk bonds are appropriate only for tax-sheltered accounts.
2. Is Default Event Risk Priced in Corporate Bonds? by Joost Driessen of the University of Amsterdam (March 2002)
We identify and estimate the sources of risk that cause corporate bonds to earn an excess return over default-free bonds. In particular, we estimate the risk premium associated with a default event. Default is modelled using a jump process with stochastic intensity. For a large set of firms, we model the default intensity of each firm as a function of common and firm-specific factors. In the model, corporate bond excess returns can be due to risk premia on factors driving the intensities and due to a risk premium on the default jump risk. The model is estimated using data on corporate bond prices for 104 US firms and historical default rate data. We find significant risk premia on the factors that drive intensities. However, these risk premia cannot fully explain the size of corporate bond excess returns. Next, we estimate the size of the default jump risk premium, correcting for possible tax and liquidity effects. The estimates show that this event risk premium is a significant and economically important determinant of excess corporate bond returns.
3. The Investment Performance and Market Size of Defaulted Bonds and Bank Loans: 2006 Review and 2007 Outlook by Altman, Edward I. and Swanson, Jeffrey
Dr. Altman has earned an international reputation as an expert on corporate bankruptcy, high yield bonds, distressed debt and credit risk analysis. In this article, Altman and his team provide a comprehensive review of the 2006 high yield bond market. The article provides detailed long-term analysis of the US market, as well as trends in default, bankruptcy, recovery and returns for investors. Against this historical backdrop, the article offers some guidance on expected default rates and market performance in the burgeoning high-yield distressed bond market.
4. Determinants of Recovery Rates on Defaulted Bonds and Loans for North American Corporate Issuers: 1983-2003 by Cantor, Richard Martin and Varma, Praveen, Journal of Fixed Income, December 2004
This paper explores the determinants of recovery rates on defaulted loans and bonds for North American corporate issuers over a period of 21 years (1983-2003). The variables it examines include seniority, security, type of initial default event, and a wide variety of firm-specific, industry-specific, and macroeconomic factors. The report estimates their influence on recovery rates both through univariate analysis, presented in a tabular form, and through multivariate regressions. Not only do our findings corroborate results on seniority, security, and macroeconomic factors found elsewhere in the literature, but we also find that recovery rates are strongly affected by 1) the type of event precipitating default, 2) the amount of debt an issuer has outstanding that is subordinate to the defaulted security, 3) the tangibility of its assets, 4) the prevailing credit spreads at the time of default, and 5) the market-to-book ratio of the firm and its industry prior to default. The results of this study show that seniority and security are the two most important factors that impact recovery rates, followed by debt-cushion, leverage and asset tangibility. Industry and macroeconomic factors are also found to be correlated with recovery rates, sometimes very strongly.
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