NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Market Conditions and the Structure of Securities

Isil Erel, Brandon Julio, Woojin Kim, Michael Weisbach

NBER Working Paper No. 14952
Issued in May 2009
NBER Program(s):   CF

Economic theory, as well as commonly-stated views of practitioners, suggests that market downturns can affect both the ability and manner in which firms raise external financing. Theory suggests that downturns should be associated with a shift toward less information-sensitive securities, as well as a "flight to quality", in which firms can issue high-rated securities but not low-rated ones. We evaluate these hypotheses on a large sample of publicly-traded debt issues, seasoned equity offers, and bank loans. We find that market downturns lead firms to use less information-sensitive securities. In addition, poor market conditions affect the structure of securities offered, shifting them towards shorter maturities and more security. Furthermore, market conditions affect the quality of securities offered, with worsening conditions substantially lowering the number of low-rated debt issues. Overall, these findings suggest that market-wide conditions are important factors in firms' capital raising decisions.

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