Fearing the Fed: How Wall Street Reads Main Street
44 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2017 Last revised: 6 May 2018
Date Written: April 29, 2018
We provide strong evidence of persistent cyclical variation in the sensitivity of stock returns to macroeconomic news announcement (MNA) surprises. When the economy is significantly below trend (output gap is large and negative) and interest rates are not expected to go up, the stock return sensitivity to news is large. On the other hand, stock returns hardly react to news during periods when the economy is near trend (output gap is small) and interest rates are expected to rise. A monetary regime-switching model is shown to have implications consistent with this evidence. Taken together, the phase of the economy and interest rate expectations are key determinants of the cyclicality of the response of the stock market.
Keywords: Macroeconomic news announcements, cyclical return variation, interest rate expectations, phase of business cycle, output gap, return decomposition.
JEL Classification: G12, E30, E40, E50
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation