How does the cost of equity change with lowered interest rates on the debt in the cap structure (assume all else is equal; ie not a floating rate that changes due to an decrease in the risk free rate (as this would clearly affect the CAPM formula)). BIWS claims that lowered interest rate don't affect cost of equity, but if increasing tax rates push down cost of equity (levered beta formula that gets plugged into CAPM) due to the reduced impact of the debt, then why couldn't you say the same thing about lowering the interest rates directly. Thanks

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A change in the risk free rate would alter the cost of equity. Thinking about the cost of equity, it's derived from the company's ability to outperform the risk free rate based on the leverage of the company, sensitivity to market changes, and other idiosyncratic factors. If you look at the formula, increases and decreases of interest rates affect the result.

CAPM= risk free rate + levered beta*(market risk return - risk free rate)

If rates were to increase, CAPM would decrease, and vice versa.

What do you mean? If you increase interest rates, you are decreasing WACC? How is that possible?

Array

Try for yourself and plug some numbers in:

Scenario 1: Rfr= 2, Beta= 1.5, Mr= 6

CAPM= 2+ 1.5*(6-2) = 8

Scenario 2 (rate increase): Rfr= 2.5, Beta= 1.5, Mr= 6

CAPM= 2.5+ 1.5*(6-2.5) = 7.75

If all else remains the same, CAPM decreases if rates increase. However, this isn't always the case. Market returns are susceptible to change when there are increases or decreases in rates. I just calculated this based on all other assumptions remaining constant.

I see what you got there. Now change the Beta. Use 1.0 or a Beta

Array

Exactly - depends if Beta>1 or not

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