July, 2015 | Refinancing

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Archive for July, 2015

2015-057: Consumer Spending and Property Taxes

July 31st, 2015

Paolo Surico and Riccardo Trezzi. A major change of the property tax system in 2011 generated significant variation in the amount of housing taxes paid by Italian households. Using new questions added to the Survey on Household Income and Wealth (SHIW), we exploit this variation to provide an unprecedented analysis of the effects of property taxes on consumer spending. A tax on the main dwelling leads to large expenditure cuts among households with mortgage debt and low liquid wealth but generates only small revenues for the government. In contrast,
higher tax rates on other residential properties reduce private savings and yield large tax revenues.

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What Do Stock Markets Tell Us about Exchange Rates?

July 31st, 2015

The sign of the correlation between equity returns and exchange rate returns can be positive or negative in theory. Using data for a broad set of forty-two countries, we find that exchange rate movements are in fact unrelated to differentials in country-level equity returns. Consequently, a trading strategy that invests in countries with the highest expected equity returns and shorts those with the lowest generates substantial returns and Sharpe ratios. These returns partially reflect compensation for global equity volatility risk, but significant excess returns remain after controlling for exposure to standard risk factors.

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2015-056: Identification of First-Price Auctions With Biased Beliefs

July 31st, 2015

Serafin J. Grundl and Yu Zhu. This paper exploits variation in the number of bidders to separately identify the valuation distribution and the bidders’ belief about the valuation distribution in first-price auctions with independent private values. Exploiting variation in auction volume the result is extended to environments with risk averse bidders. In an illustrative application we fail to reject the null hypothesis of correct beliefs.

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2015-055: Un-Networking: The Evolution of Networks in the Federal Funds Market

July 31st, 2015

Daniel O. Beltran, Valentin Bolotnyy, and Elizabeth C. Klee. Using a network approach to characterize the evolution of the federal funds market during the Great Recession and financial crisis of 2007-2008, we document that many small federal funds lenders began reducing their lending to larger institutions in the core of the network starting in mid-2007. But an abrupt change occurred in the fall of 2008, when small lenders left the federal funds market en masse and those that remained lent smaller amounts, less frequently. We then test whether changes in lending patterns within key components of the network were associated with increases in counterparty and liquidity risk of banks that make up the core of the network. Using both aggregate and bank-level network metrics, we find that increases in counterparty and liquidity risk are associated with reduced lending activity within the network. We also contribute some new ways of visualizing financial network
s.

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2015-054: A margin call gone wrong: Credit, stock prices, and Germany’s Black Friday 1927

July 31st, 2015

Stefan Gissler. Leverage is often seen as villain in financial crises. Sudden deleveraging may lead to fire sales and price pressure when asset demand is downward-sloping. This paper looks at the effects of changes in leverage on asset prices. It provides a historical case study where a large, well-identified shock to margin credit disrupted the German stock market. In May 1927, the German central bank forced banks to cut margin lending to their clients. However, this shock affected banks differentially; the magnitude of credit change differed across banks. Using the strong connections between banks and firms in interwar Germany, I show in a difference-in-differences framework that stocks affiliated with affected banks decreased over 12 percent during 4 weeks. Volatility of these stocks doubled. Relating directly bank balance sheet information to asset prices, this paper finds that a one standard deviation decrease in lending to investors increased an aff
ected stock’s volatility by 0.22 standard deviations. These results are robust to the problem that banks’ lending decisions may be influenced by asset prices. The Reichsbank threatened banks to cut their short-run funding. Using the differences in exposure towards this threat, an instrumental variable strategy provides further evidence that a sharp decrease in leverage may lead to stock price fluctuations.

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Pricing Deflation Risk with US Treasury Yields

July 30th, 2015

We use an arbitrage-free term structure model with spanned stochastic volatility to determine the value of the deflation protection option embedded in Treasury inflation-protected securities. The model accurately prices the deflation protection option prior to the financial crisis when its value was near zero; at the peak of the crisis in late 2008 when deflationary concerns spiked sharply; and in the post-crisis period. During 2009, the average value of this option at the 5-year maturity was 41 basis points on a par-yield basis. The option value is shown to be closely linked to overall market uncertainty as measured by the VIX, especially during and after the 2008 financial crisis.

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Local Ownership, Crises, and Asset Prices: Evidence from US Mutual Funds

July 29th, 2015

We exploit the domestic portfolios of US mutual funds to provide microeconomic evidence that investors are more likely to liquidate geographically remote investments at times of high aggregate market volatility. This has important implications for asset prices. The valuations of stocks with ex ante less local ownership decline more when aggregate market volatility is high. Furthermore, the returns of stocks with geographically distant owners are more exposed to changes in aggregate market volatility.

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The Maximum HSA Contributions for 2015 & 2016

July 27th, 2015

The IRS recently published an inflation adjustment increase to the maximum HSA contribution for 2016 over the 2015 maximum HSA contribution limit. More specifically, the family contribution maximum will increase while the individual contribution maximum …

The Maximum HSA Contributions for 2015 & 2016

[Read the rest of the story at 20somethingfinance.com]

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Why BlackBerry Security Summit Lacked Talk of New Phones

July 25th, 2015

NEWS ANALYSIS: Imagine a day when BlackBerry no longer builds enterprise smartphones. We spoke with several BlackBerry leaders about the possibility.

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Asset Growth and Idiosyncratic Return Volatility

July 25th, 2015

This article studies the empirical relationship between firms’ asset growth and idiosyncratic stock return volatility. In the cross-section, firms’ idiosyncratic return volatility is V-shaped with respect to their lagged asset growth rates: the volatility is higher for firms with extreme (either high or low) asset growth rates than for firms with moderate growth rates. In the time series, a higher dispersion across firms in asset growth rates predicts a higher average idiosyncratic return volatility. Moreover, the dispersion in asset growth rates has the strongest time series predictive power among alternative explanations of the average idiosyncratic return volatility, such as cash flow volatility and growth options. These findings indicate the importance of nonlinearity in studying the cross-sectional return volatility and provide a new explanation of the idiosyncratic return volatility that is significant in both the cross-section and the time series.

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