Essays on Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

University dissertation from Stockholm : Department of Economics, Stockholm University

Abstract: Asset pricing implications of a DSGE model with recursive preferences and nominal rigidities. I study jointly macroeconomic dynamics and asset prices implied by a production economy featuring nominal price rigidities and Epstein-Zin (1989) preferences. Using a reasonable calibration, the macroeconomic DSGE model is consistent with a number of stylized facts observed in financial markets like the equity premium, a negative real term spread, a positive nominal term spread and the predictability of stock returns, without compromising the model's ability to fit key macroeconomic variables. The interest rate smoothing in the monetary policy rule helps generate a low risk-free rate volatility which has been difficult to achieve for standard real business cycle models where monetary policy is neutral. In an application, I show that the model provides a framework for analyzing monetary policy interventions and the associated effects on asset prices and the real economy.Macroeconomic news and the stock market: Evidence from the eurozone. This paper is an empirical study of excess return behavior in the stock market in the euro area around days when important macroeconomic news about inflation, unemployment or interest rates are scheduled for announcement. I identify state dependence such that equity risk premia on announcement days are significantly higher when the interests rates are in the vicinity of the zero lower bound. Moreover, I provide evidence that for the whole sample period, the average excess returns in the eurozone are only higher on days when FOMC announcements are scheduled for release. However, this result vanishes in a low interest rate regime. Finally, I document that the European stock market does not command a premium for scheduled announcements by the European Central Bank (ECB).The impact of ECB monetary policy surprises on the German stock market. We examine the impact of ECB monetary policy surprises on German excess stock returns and the possible reasons for such a response. First, we conduct an event study to asses the impact of conventional and unconventional monetary policy on stock returns. Second, within the VAR framework of Campbell and Ammer (1993), we decompose excess stock returns into news regarding expected excess returns, future dividends and future real interest rates. We measure conventional monetary policy shocks using futures markets data. Our main findings are that the overall variation in German excess stock returns mainly reflects revisions in expectations about dividends and that the stock market response to monetary policy shocks is dependent on the prevailing interest rate regime. In periods of negative real interest rates, a surprise monetary tightening leads to a decrease in excess stock returns. The channels behind this response are news about higher expected excess returns and lower future dividends.

  This dissertation MIGHT be available in PDF-format. Check this page to see if it is available for download.