We empirically investigate the sensitivity of Canadian commercial bank stock returns and profitability to changes in interest rates. We find a statistically significant negative relationship between bank stock returns and changes in interest rates over the period 1995-2006, while the relationship is not significant over the past five years. Furthermore, banks’ profitability appears not to be significantly affected by changes in interest rates over our sample period. Our results suggest that Canadian Banks are relatively well immunized against interest rate risk. This may be due to an appropriate matching between the duration of assets and liabilities (on balance sheet risk management) and/or an efficient use of interest rate derivatives (off balance sheet management).
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