NBER Working Paper No. 27106
Issued in May 2020, Revised in June 2020
This paper was revised on June 30, 2020
Firms with greater financial flexibility should be better able to fund a revenue shortfall resulting from the COVID-19 shock and benefit less from policy responses. We find that firms with high financial flexibility experience a stock price drop lower by 26% or 9.7 percentage points than those with low financial flexibility accounting for a firm’s industry. This differential return persists as stock prices rebound. Similar results hold for CDS spreads. The stock price of a firm with an average payout over assets ratio would have dropped 2 percentage points less with no payouts for the last three years.