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What Explains the Stock Market's Reaction to Federal Reserve Policy?

  • Ben S. Bernanke
  • Kenneth N. Kuttner

This paper analyzes the impact of changes in monetary policy on equity prices, with the objectives both of measuring the average reaction of the stock market and also of understanding the economic sources of that reaction. We find that, on average, a hypothetical unanticipated 25-basis-point cut in the federal funds rate target is associated with about a one percent increase in broad stock indexes. Adapting a methodology due to Campbell (1991) and Campbell and Ammer (1993), we find that the effects of unanticipated monetary policy actions on expected excess returns account for the largest part of the response of stock prices.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10402.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Bernanke, Ben S., and Kenneth N. Kuttner. "What Explains the Stock Market's Reaction to Federal Reserve Policy?" Journal of Finance 60(3): 1221-1257, June 2005
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10402
Note: ME
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  1. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1999. "Monetary policy and asset price volatility," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 17-51.
  2. 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.
  3. Rudebusch, Glenn D., 1995. "Federal Reserve interest rate targeting, rational expectations, and the term structure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 245-274, April.
  4. 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.
  5. John Y. Campbell & Tuomo Vuolteenaho, 2003. "Bad Beta, Good Beta," NBER Working Papers 9509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jon Faust & Eric T. Swanson & 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.).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Monika Piazzesi, 2002. "The Fed and Interest Rates - A High-Frequency Identification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 90-95, May.
  10. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1988. "Permanent and Temporary Components of Stock Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 246-73, April.
  11. Charles Evans & Kenneth Kuttner, 1998. "Can VARs describe monetary policy?," Research Paper 9812, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  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. Campbell, John, 1991. "A Variance Decomposition for Stock Returns," Scholarly Articles 3207695, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Willem Thorbecke, 1995. "On Stock Market Returns and Monetary Policy," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_139, Levy Economics Institute.
  15. Refet S. G├╝rkaynak & Brian P. Sack & Eric T. 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.).
  16. Ray Fair, 2003. "Events that Shook the Market," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm307, Yale School of Management.
  17. John Y. Campbell & John Ammer, 1991. "What Moves the Stock and Bond Markets? A Variance Decomposition for Long-Term Asset Returns," NBER Working Papers 3760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. Roberto Rigobon & Brian P. 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.).
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Rigobon, Roberto & Sack, Brian, 2004. "The impact of monetary policy on asset prices," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(8), pages 1553-1575, November.
  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.
  24. 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.
  25. Fuhrer, Jeff & Tootell, Geoff, 2008. "Eyes on the prize: How did the fed respond to the stock market?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 796-805, May.
  26. 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.
  27. John H. Boyd & Ravi Jagannathan & Jian Hu, 2001. "The Stock Market's Reaction to Unemployment News: Why Bad News is Usually Good for Stocks," NBER Working Papers 8092, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Ehrmann, Michael & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2004. "Taking stock: monetary policy transmission to equity markets," Working Paper Series 0354, European Central Bank.
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