Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



The Systematic Risk and Leverage Effect in the Corporate Sector of Pakistan

Poor corporate financing policies, non-competitive role of institutional development, a tendency towards the underpricing of initial offering resulted in high levered stocks in Karachi stock market (KSE). The KSE is termed as high risk high return emerging market where investors seek high risk premium Nishat (1999). The leverage is the most important factor which determines the firms risk premium [Zimmer (1990)]. Hamada (1969) and Bowman (1979) have demonstrated the theoretical relationship between leverage and systematic risk. Systematic risk of the leverage firm is equal to the without leverage systematic risk of the firm times one plus the leverage ratio (debt equity). Bowman (1979) established that systematic risk is directly related to leverage and the accounting beta (covariability of a firms’ accounting earnings with the accounting earnings of the market portfolio). One explanation of time-varying stock volatility is that leverage changes as the relative price of stocks and bonds change. Schwert (1989) demonstrated how a change in the leverage of the firm causes a change in the volatility of stock returns. Haugen and Wichern (1975) analysed the relationship between leverage and relative stability of stock value based on actuarial science1 and found that the duration of the debt is an important attribute in assessing the effect of leverage on stock volatility. If the leverage is persistent, or changing over time due to the issuance of additional debt, or if the firms are trying to return back the debt, this will change the risk of holding common stock. Kane, Marcus, and McDonald (1985) argued that a well defined metric for the advantage of debt financing is the difference in rates of return earned by optimally levered and unlevered firms, net of a return premium to compensate for potential bankruptcy costs.

Muhammad Nishat