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Book-to-Market, Mispricing, and the Cross-Section of Corporate Bond Returns -- by Söhnke M. Bartram, Mark Grinblatt, Yoshio Nozawa

We study the role played by “bond book-to-market” ratios in U.S. corporate bond pricing. Controlling for numerous risk factors tied to default and priced asset risk, including yield-to-maturity, we find that the ratio of a corporate bond’s book value to its market price strongly predicts the bond’s future return. The quintile of bonds with the highest book-to-market ratios outperforms the quintile with the lowest ratios by more than 3% per year, other things equal. Additional evidence on signal delay, scope of signal efficacy, and factor risk rejects the thesis that the corporate bond market is perfectly informationally efficient, although significant positive alpha spreads are erased by transaction costs.