Capital structure's influence on volatility on in times of financial distress : An investigation on capital structure as a volatility influencer before, during and after the European debt crisis on the Stockholm Stock Exchange

Detta är en Uppsats för yrkesexamina på avancerad nivå från Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi; Umeå universitet/Företagsekonomi

Sammanfattning: The financial crisisand the European debt crisis wreaked havoc on many European economies and stock markets. Previous studies have shown that crises are associated with high debt and linked with lower growth. Studies also suggest that politicians underestimate the risks associated with high debt during economic upturn and that economic crises are usually connected with high volatility. Volatility is used as a measurement of risk since high volatility indicates larger market uncertainty of the valuation of the underlying asset. Previous studies have shown that volatility can be a good indication of a firm’s riskiness. As volatility and capital structure both relate to risk and are influenced by market reactions, investigating the impact that capital structure has on volatility during times of global financial market distress could provide insight and be an important tool for investors. This thesis will investigate firms listed on the Stockholm stock exchange, divided into seven industries, in order to find the impact capital structure may have on volatility, before, during and in the aftermath of the recent European debt crisis (2006-2016). The study will use a quantitative research method, with an objectivistic and positivistic research philosophy as well as a deductive research approach. By using multiple regression models, theoretical relations surrounding volatility and capital structure will be contrasted to the results of the study.The results of the study finds that capital structure does not play a significant part inchanges in volatility for firms during any investigated period when testing for all firms simultaneously. However, the same claim cannot be made for when each industry is tested individually. Empirical evidence showed that capital structure is a influencer for changes in volatility for the consumer goods industry prior to and after the debt crisis and in the consumer goods service industry after the debt crisis. Investors are urged to not be concerned by large debt levels, as long as they invest in largefirms and choose the right sectors. The financial sector is seen as the least risky, with low volatility levels. Furthermore, the basic material sector, despite outward appearances, should be avoided as it presents recent periods of unusually large volatility levels.

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