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Do actions speak louder than words? the response of asset prices to monetary policy actions and statements

  • Refet Gürkaynak
  • Brian Sack
  • Eric Swanson

We investigate the effects of U.S. monetary policy on asset prices using a high-frequency event-study analysis. We test whether these effects are adequately captured by a single factor--changes in the federal funds rate target-and find that they are not. Instead, we find that two factors are required. These factors have a structural interpretation as a "current federal funds rate target" factor and a "future path of policy" factor, with the latter closely associated with FOMC statements. We measure the effects of these two factors on bond yields and stock prices using a new intraday dataset going back to 1990. According to our estimates, both monetary policy actions and statements have important but differing effects on asset prices, with statements having a much greater impact on longer-term Treasury yields.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2004-66.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Publication status: Published in International Journal of Central Banking, v. 1, no. 1 (May 2005) pp. 55-93
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2004-66
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  1. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2002. "Market-based measures of monetary policy expectations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-40, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Monika Piazzesi & Eric T. Swanson, 2006. "Futures prices as risk-adjusted forecasts of monetary policy," Working Paper Series 2006-23, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Refet S. Gürkaynak, 2005. "Using federal funds futures contracts for monetary policy analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Ben S. Bernanke & Vincent R. Reinhart & Brian P. Sack, 2004. "Monetary Policy Alternatives at the Zero Bound: An Empirical Assessment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(2), pages 1-100.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell & Kermit L. Schoenholtz, 1983. "Forward Rates and Future Policy: Interpreting the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 667, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Roberto Rigobon & Brian Sack, 2001. "Measuring the reaction of monetary policy to the stock market," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Joel T. Krueger & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 1996. "The Fed funds futures rate as a predictor of federal reserve policy," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 865-879, December.
  10. Jon Faust & Eric Swanson & and Jonathan H. Wright, 2002. "Identifying vars based on high frequency futures data," International Finance Discussion Papers 720, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Rudebusch, Glenn D, 1998. "Do Measures of Monetary Policy in a VAR Make Sense?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 907-31, November.
  12. Reifschneider, David & Willams, John C, 2000. "Three Lessons for Monetary Policy in a Low-Inflation Era," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(4), pages 936-66, November.
  13. 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.
  14. John H. Cochrane & Monika Piazzesi, 2002. "The Fed and Interest Rates: A High-Frequency Identification," NBER Working Papers 8839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ben S. Bernanke & Kenneth N. Kuttner, 2005. "What Explains the Stock Market's Reaction to Federal Reserve Policy?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1221-1257, 06.
  16. Eric M. Leeper & Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 1996. "What Does Monetary Policy Do?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(2), pages 1-78.
  17. David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2000. "Three lessons for monetary policy in a low-inflation era," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, pages 936-978.
  18. Charles L. Evans & David A. Marshall, 1997. "Monetary policy and the term structure of nominal interest rates: evidence and theory," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  19. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Michael Woodford, 2003. "The Zero Bound on Interest Rates and Optimal Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 139-235.
  20. Roberto Rigobon & Brian Sack, 2002. "The impact of monetary policy on asset prices," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-4, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  21. Cragg, John G. & Donald, Stephen G., 1997. "Inferring the rank of a matrix," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1-2), pages 223-250.
  22. Refet S. Gürkaynak & Brian Sack & Eric Swanson, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Long-Term Interest Rates to Economic News: Evidence and Implications for Macroeconomic Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 425-436, March.
  23. 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.
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