Motivated by the European debt crisis and the new European Union regulatory regime for the credit rating industry, we analyse differences of opinion in sovereign credit signals and their influence on European stock markets. Rating disagreements have a significant connection with subsequent negative credit actions by each agency. However, links among Moody’s/Fitch actions and their rating disagreements with other agencies have weakened in the post-regulation period. We also find that only S&P’s negative credit signals affect the own-country stock market and spill over to other European markets, but this is concentrated in the pre-regulation period. Stronger stock market reactions occur when S&P has already assigned a lower rating than Moody’s/Fitch prior to taking a further negative action.
- EU regulation of rating agencies
- European debt crisis
- sovereign credit signals
- split rating
- stock return