Corporate Immunity to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Using data on over 6,000 firms across 56 economies during the first quarter of 2020, we evaluate the connection between corporate characteristics and stock price reactions to COVID-19 cases. We find that the pandemic-induced drop in stock prices was milder among firms with (a) stronger pre-2020 finances (more cash, less debt, and larger profits), (b) less exposure to COVID-19 through global supply chains and customer locations, (c) more CSR activities, and (d) less entrenched executives. Furthermore, the stock prices of firms with greater hedge fund ownership performed worse, and those of firms with larger non-financial corporate ownership performed better. We believe ours is the first paper to assess international, cross-firm stock price reactions to COVID-19 as functions of these pre-shock corporate characteristics.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.