The Federal Reserve Bank of New York works to promote sound and well-functioning financial systems and markets through its provision of industry and payment services, advancement of infrastructure reform in key markets and training and educational support to international institutions.
The Outreach & Education function engages, empowers and educates the public in the Second District. Our outreach mission furthers the Bank’s commitment to the region by listening to the communities we serve and developing programs, analysis and sponsored conferences and clinics to help meet their needs. Our education mission aims to advance public knowledge about the Federal Reserve System and its role in the economy.
We document large average excess returns on U.S. equities in anticipation of monetary policy decisions made at scheduled meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in the past few decades. These pre-FOMC returns have increased over time and account for sizable fractions of total annual realized stock returns. While other major international equity indices experienced similar pre-FOMC returns, we find no such effect in U.S. Treasury securities and money market futures. Other major U.S. macroeconomic new announcements also do not give rise to pre-announcement excess equity returns. Pre-FOMC returns are higher in periods when the slope of the Treasury yield curve is low, implied equity market volatility is high, and when past pre-FOMC returns have been high. We discuss challenges explaining these returns with standard asset pricing theory.