Interest Rate Risk Rewards in Stock Returns of Financial Corporations: Evidence from Germany


  • The helpful comments of the editor are acknowledged with thanks. We especially thank an anonymous referee for several comments and suggestions that have significantly improved the paper. All remaining errors are our own. Correspondence: Hendrik Scholz.


The interest rate sensitivity of stock returns of financial and non-financial corporations is a well-known phenomenon. However, only little is known about the part of total stock returns that is attributable to the compensation an investor receives for being exposed to interest rate risk when investing in equity securities. We pursue here a benchmark portfolio approach, constructing benchmark portfolios having the same interest rate risk exposure as a particular stock. By studying the time series of returns of these asset-specific benchmarks, we find: i) Regardless of the industry considered, the interest rate risk benchmarks of German corporations have mostly earned a significantly positive reward. ii) Returns of interest rate risk benchmarks of financial institutions exceeded significantly those of non-financial corporations. iii) An investor willing to bear nothing but the average interest rate risk of German financial institutions would have earned a mean return of about or even exceeding 70% of the corresponding total stock returns. iv) Returns of the interest rate risk benchmarks of the German insurance sector were significantly higher than those of German banks, which seems to contradict conventional market wisdom that insurances hedge interest rate risks.