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Stock market reaction to fed funds rate surprises: state dependence and the financial crisis


  • Alexandros Kontonikas
  • Ronald MacDonald
  • Aman Saggu


This paper examines the impact of Federal Funds rate (FFR) surprises on stock returns in the United States over the period 1989-2009, focusing on the impact of the recent financial crisis. We find that prior to the crisis, stock prices increased as a response to unexpected FFR cuts. State dependence is also identified with stocks exhibiting larger increases when interest rate easing coincided with recessions, bear stock markets, and tightening credit market conditions. However, an important structural shift took place during the financial crisis, which changed the stock market response to FFR shocks, as well as the nature of state dependence. Specifically, during the crisis period stock market participants did not react positively to unexpected FFR cuts. Our results highlight the severity of the recent financial turmoil episode and the ineffectiveness of conventional monetary policy close to the zero lower bound for nominal interest rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexandros Kontonikas & Ronald MacDonald & Aman Saggu, 2012. "Stock market reaction to fed funds rate surprises: state dependence and the financial crisis," Working Papers 2012_11, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  • Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2012_11

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    1. Eksi, Ozan & Tas, Bedri Kamil Onur, 2017. "Unconventional monetary policy and the stock market’s reaction to Federal Reserve policy actions," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 136-147.
    2. Jayech, Selma, 2016. "The contagion channels of July–August-2011 stock market crash: A DAG-copula based approach," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 249(2), pages 631-646.
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    4. Guidolin, Massimo & Orlov, Alexei G. & Pedio, Manuela, 2017. "The impact of monetary policy on corporate bonds under regime shifts," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 176-202.
    5. Haitsma, Reinder & Unalmis, Deren & de Haan, Jakob, 2016. "The impact of the ECB's conventional and unconventional monetary policies on stock markets," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 101-116.
    6. Brana, Sophie & Prat, Stéphanie, 2016. "The effects of global excess liquidity on emerging stock market returns: Evidence from a panel threshold model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PA), pages 26-34.
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    8. Harkin, Sean M. & Mare, Davide S. & Crook, Jonathan N., 2017. "Average Pay in Banks: Do Agency Problems and Bank Performance Matter?," MPRA Paper 81249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    10. Virginie Coudert & Cyriac Guillaumin & Hélene Raymond, 2014. "Looking at the Other Side of Carry Trades: Are there any Safe Haven Currencies?," Working Papers 2014-03, CEPII research center.
    11. Lawal Isola ADEDOYIN & Frank AWONUSI & Martins I. OLOYE, 2015. "All share price and inflation volatility in Nigeria. An application of the EGARCH model," EuroEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 1(34), pages 75-82, May.
    12. Alexandros Kontonikas & Paulo Maio & Zivile Zekaite, 2016. "Monetary Policy and Corporate Bond Returns," Working Papers 2016_05, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    13. Florackis, Chris & Kontonikas, Alexandros & Kostakis, Alexandros, 2014. "Stock market liquidity and macro-liquidity shocks: Evidence from the 2007–2009 financial crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 97-117.
    14. Chortareas, Georgios & Noikokyris, Emmanouil, 2017. "Federal reserve's policy, global equity markets, and the local monetary policy stance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 317-327.
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    17. Alexandros Kontonikas & Charles Nolan & Zivile Zekaite, 2015. "Always and Everywhere Inflation? Treasuries Variance Decomposition and the Impact of Monetary Policy," Working Papers 2015_17, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    18. Baumöhl, Eduard & Lyócsa, Štefan, 2017. "Directional predictability from stock market sector indices to gold: A cross-quantilogram analysis," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 152-164.
    19. Roman Horváth & Štefan Lyócsa & Eduard Baumöhl, 2016. "Stock Market Contagion in Central and Eastern Europe: Unexpected Volatility and Extreme Co-exceedance," Working Papers 357, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    20. Corbet, Shaen & Dowling, Michael & Cummins, Mark, 2015. "Analyst recommendations and volatility in a rising, falling, and crisis equity market," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 187-194.

    More about this item


    Monetary Policy; Stock Market; State Dependence; Financial Crisis;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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