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What explains the stock market's reaction to Federal Reserve policy?

  • Ben Bernanke
  • Kenneth N. Kuttner

This paper analyzes the impact of unanticipated changes in the Federal funds target on equity prices, with the aim of both estimating the size of the typical reaction, and understanding the reasons for the market's response. On average over the May 1989 to December 2001 sample, a "typical" unanticipated 25 basis point rate cut has been associated with a 1.3 percent increase in the S&P 500 composite index. The estimated response varies considerably across industries, with the greatest sensitivity observed in cyclical industries like construction, and the smallest in mining and utilities. Very little of the market's reaction can be attributed to policy's effects on the real rate of interest or future dividends, however. Instead, most of the response of the current excess return on equities can be traced to policy's impact on expected future excess returns.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Proceedings.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): Mar ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfpr:y:2003:i:mar:x:1
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  1. Charles Evans & Kenneth Kuttner, 1998. "Can VARs describe monetary policy?," Research Paper 9812, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  2. d'Amico, Stefania & Mira Farka, 2003. "The Fed and Stock Market: A Proxy and Instrumental Variable Identification," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 52, Royal Economic Society.
  3. Willem Thorbecke, 1995. "On Stock Market Returns and Monetary Policy," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_139, Levy Economics Institute.
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  7. Goto, Shingo, 2000. "The Fed's Effect on Excess Returns and Inflation is Much Bigger Than You Think," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt04f1z5hb, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
  8. William Poole & Robert H & Rasche & Daniel L. Thornton, 2002. "Market anticipations of monetary policy actions," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 65-94.
  9. Faust Jon & Swanson Eric T & Wright Jonathan H, 2004. "Do Federal Reserve Policy Surprises Reveal Superior Information about the Economy?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-31, October.
  10. Kuttner, Kenneth N., 2001. "Monetary policy surprises and interest rates: Evidence from the Fed funds futures market," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 523-544, June.
  11. Roberto Rigobon & Brian P. Sack, 2002. "The Impact of Monetary Policy on Asset Prices," NBER Working Papers 8794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Demiralp, Selva & Jorda, Oscar, 2004. "The Response of Term Rates to Fed Announcements," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(3), pages 387-405, June.
  13. Roberto Rigobon & Brian Sack, 2003. "Measuring The Reaction Of Monetary Policy To The Stock Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 639-669, May.
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  17. David H. Romer & Christina D. Romer, 2000. "Federal Reserve Information and the Behavior of Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 429-457, June.
  18. Ray C. Fair, 2002. "Events That Shook the Market," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75(4), pages 713-732, October.
  19. Gurkaynak, Refet S. & Sack, Brian T. & Swanson, Eric P., 2007. "Market-Based Measures of Monetary Policy Expectations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 201-212, April.
  20. Brandt, Michael W. & Wang, Kevin Q., 2003. "Time-varying risk aversion and unexpected inflation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(7), pages 1457-1498, October.
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  22. Campbell, John Y, 1991. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 157-79, March.
  23. Nelson, Charles R & Kim, Myung J, 1993. " Predictable Stock Returns: The Role of Small Sample Bias," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(2), pages 641-61, June.
  24. Jeff Fuhrer & Geoff Tootell, 2004. "Eyes on the prize: how did the Fed respond to the stock market?," Public Policy Discussion Paper 04-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  25. John H. Boyd & Jian Hu & Ravi Jagannathan, 2005. "The Stock Market's Reaction to Unemployment News: Why Bad News Is Usually Good for Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 649-672, 04.
  26. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2004. "Taking stock: monetary policy transmission to equity markets," Working Paper Series 0354, European Central Bank.
  27. Joel T. Krueger & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1995. "The Fed funds futures rate as a predictor of Federal Reserve policy," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 95-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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