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Stock Market Fluctuations and the Term Structure
This paper uses the term structure of interest rates to explain the variations of stock prices and stock returns. It shows that interest rates have an important impact on stock returns, especially at long horizons. The hypothesis that expected stock returns move one-for-one with ex ante interest rates, which has been rejected strongly in other studies using short horizon data, is supported by long horizon data. The paper proposes, for the first time, a single measure---the present value of forward interest rates---to summarize the information of the term structure that is useful in ...
The Puzzling Pre-FOMC Announcement “Drift”
For many years, economists have struggled to explain the ?equity premium puzzle??the fact that the average return on stocks is larger than what would be expected to compensate for their riskiness. In this post, which draws on our recent New York Fed staff report, we deepen the puzzle further. We show that since 1994, more than 80 percent of the equity premium on U.S. stocks has been earned over the twenty-four hours preceding scheduled Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announcements (which occur only eight times a year)?a phenomenon we call the pre-FOMC announcement ?drift.?
The Low Volatility Puzzle: Are Investors Complacent?
In recent months, some analysts and policymakers have raised concerns about the unusually low level of stock market volatility. For example, in the June Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) minutes ?a few participants expressed concern that subdued market volatility, coupled with a low equity premium, could lead to a buildup of risks to financial stability.? In this post, we review this concern and find the evidence on investor complacency is mixed. On one hand, we present a view suggesting that historical volatility may have been abnormally high, rather than current volatility being ...
The Low Volatility Puzzle: Is This Time Different?
As stock market volatility hovers near all-time lows, some analysts are questioning whether investors are complacent, drawing an analogy to the lead-up to the financial crisis. But, is this time different? We follow up on our previous post by investigating the persistence of low volatility periods. Historically, realized stock market volatility is persistent and mean-reverting: low volatility today predicts slightly higher, but still low, volatility one month and one year from now. Moreover, as of mid-September, the market is pricing implied volatility of 19 percent in one to two years? time. ...
Risk Premia at the ZLB: A Macroeconomic Interpretation
Historically, inflation is negatively correlated with stock returns, leading investors to fear inflation. We document using a variety of measures that this association became positive in the U.S. during the 2008-2015 period. We then show how an off-the-shelf New Keynesian model can reproduce this change of association due to the binding zero lower bound (ZLB) on short-term nominal interest rates during this period: in the model, demand shocks become more important when the ZLB binds because the central bank cannot respond as effectively as when interest rates are positive. This changing ...
What Can Revisions to the NFCI Tell Us About Stock Market Volatility?
In this blog post, we document that recent revisions to the Chicago Fed’s National Financial Conditions Index (NFCI) have been large and clustered in time—a pattern not seen since the 2007–09 global financial crisis. As financial conditions tightened early on during the Covid-19 outbreak here in the U.S., there were large positive revisions to the NFCI through much of March. We show that revisions of this magnitude and in this direction have often preceded substantial increases in stock market volatility. More recently, in late March and April, the large negative revisions to the NFCI ...
Financial Positions of U.S. Public Corporations: Part 2, The Covid-19 Earnings Shock
This blog is the second in a series that discusses how the current pandemic affects the financial positions of publicly traded U.S. corporations, the potential implications of these financial developments, and the federal policy response. The first blog discussed the financial positions before the pandemic started. It documented that many nonfinancial publicly traded companies entered 2020 with historically elevated levels of leverage. This second blog explains how we use stock returns to project the potential earnings losses due to Covid-19; this will be used in our next blog to project the ...
Outside Lending in the NYC Call Loan Market
Before the Panic of 1907 the large New York City banks were able to maintain the call loan market?s liquidity during panics, but the rise in outside lending by trust companies and interior banks in the decade leading up the panic weakened the influence of the large banks. Creating a reliable source of liquidity and reserves external to the financial market like a central bank became obvious after the panic. The lack of a lender of last resort for investment banks engaged in bank-like activities during the crisis of 2007-09 revealed a similar need for an external liquidity source.
Financial frictions and the reaction of stock prices to monetary policy shocks
This paper reveals and tests a new theoretical implication of the credit channel of monetary policy: as financial frictions (monitoring or auditing costs) increase, the reaction of stock prices to monetary policy shocks decreases. Correspondingly, towards the end of the Enron accounting scandal, the stock prices of firms sharing the same auditor as Enron responded by about 50 to 60 basis points less than other firms to a 10 basis point reduction in the federal funds target rate. This effect is particularly strong among more opaque firms for which financial statements likely provide a more ...