–°orporate Bond Price Reversals [Job Market Paper]

Abstract

I demonstrate that investors trade U.S. corporate bonds not only for liquidity reasons but also on private information. Bond dealers let less-informed investors provide liquidity to informed traders and are not adversely selected. I obtain these results by contrasting corporate bond price reversals in bonds with different information asymmetry, trading volume, and dealers’ capital commitment. I find strong price reversals that become less pronounced following high-trading-volume days. The effect is the strongest for bonds with high information asymmetry, and when dealers’ end-of-day inventory does not change. The results suggest that information reveals itself in prices on high-volume days when dealers do not accept overnight inventory risk. The findings are in line with the predictions of a theoretical model in which investors trade both for liquidity reasons and on private news that arrive independently of changes in inventory. I further show that realized bid-ask spreads are not wide enough to negate reversal profits of high-asymmetry bonds. Such reversal portfolios earn 3% per year after trading cost adjustment. By connecting low market transparency with high non-fundamental price volatility, the paper also contributes to the ongoing policy debate.

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