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It’s long been known that asset prices respond not only to public information, such as macroeconomic announcements, but also to private information revealed through trading. More recently, with the growth of high-frequency trading, academics have argued that limit orders—orders to buy or sell a security at a specific price or better—also contain information. In this post, we examine the information content of trades and limit orders in the U.S. Treasury securities market, following this paper, recently published in the Journal of Financial Markets and earlier as a New York Fed staff report.
Doug Brain, Michiel De Pooter, Dobrislav Dobrev, Michael Fleming, Peter Johansson, Frank Keane, Michael Puglia, Tony Rodrigues, and Or Shachar
Following an earlier joint FEDS Note and Liberty Street Economics blog post that examined aggregate trading volume in the Treasury cash market across venues, this post looks at volume across security type, seasoned-ness (time since issuance), and maturity. The analysis, which again relies on transactions recorded in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE), sheds light on perceptions that some Treasury securities—in particular those that are off-the-run—may not trade very actively. We confirm that most trading volume is made up of on-the-run securities, especially in venues where the market has become more automated. However, we also find that daily average volume in off-the-run securities is still a meaningful $157 billion (27 percent of overall volume), and accounts for a large share (41 percent) of trading in the dealer-to-client venue of the market.
Editor’s note: When this post was first published, the placement of the shaded confidence intervals in the charts was incorrect; the charts have been corrected. (December 3, 2018, 3:20 p.m.)
We had previously documented large excess returns on equities ahead of scheduled announcements of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)—the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy-making body—between 1994 and 2011. This post updates our original analysis with more recent data. We find evidence of continued large excess returns during FOMC meetings, but only for those featuring a press conference by the Chair of the FOMC.
As the midterm elections approach, it’s worth revisiting the striking financial market response to the last federal elections in 2016. U.S. equity market futures and Treasury yields first plunged on election night 2016, as the presidential election results turned out closer than expected, but quickly rebounded after President Trump’s victory became clear, ultimately ending the day higher. In this post, I take a close look at the unusual U.S. Treasury market behavior that night, focusing on the market conditions and trading flows amid which the sharp yield changes took place.
Nina Boyarchenko, Thomas M. Eisenbach, Pooja Gupta, Or Shachar, and Peter Van Tassel
Since the 2007-09 financial crisis, the prices of closely related assets have shown persistent deviations—so-called basis spreads. Because such disparities create apparent profit opportunities, the question arises of why they are not arbitraged away. In a recent Staff Report, we argue that post-crisis changes to regulation and market structure have increased the costs to banks of participating in spread-narrowing trades, creating limits to arbitrage. In addition, although one might expect hedge funds to act as arbitrageurs, we find evidence that post-crisis regulation affects not only the targeted banks but also spills over to less regulated firms that rely on bank intermediation for their arbitrage strategies.
Nina Boyarchenko, Anna M. Costello, and Or Shachar
Credit default swaps (CDS) are frequently credited with being the cause of AIG’s collapse during the financial crisis. A Reuters article from September 2008, for example, notes “[w]hen you hear that the collapse of AIG […] might lead to a systemic collapse of the global financial system, the feared culprit is, largely, that once-obscure […] instrument known as a credit default swap.” Yet, despite the prominent role that CDS played during the financial crisis, little is known about how individual financial institutions utilize CDS contracts on individual companies. In a recent New York Fed staff report, we assess the choice banks face when trading the idiosyncratic credit risk of a firm, and argue that banks’ participation decisions have been affected in the post-regulation period, either by direct changes in market structure or by changes in the relative cost of pursuing different strategies.
The post-crisis regulatory reform efforts to improve capital and liquidity positions of regulated institutions provide incentives for banks to change not only the structure of their own balance sheets but also how they interact with their customers and other market participants more generally. A 2015 PwC study on global financial market liquidity, for example, noted that “[a]s banks respond to the new regulatory environment, they have sought to make more efficient use of capital and liquidity resources, by reducing the markets they serve and streamlining their operations.” In this blog post, we provide an overview of three recent New York Fed staff reports that study the impact that post-crisis regulation has had on the willingness and ability of regulated firms to participate in U.S. over-the-counter (OTC) markets.
Richard Crump, Domenico Giannone, and Sean Hundtofte
Are stock returns predictable? This question is a perennially popular subject of debate. In this post, we highlight some results from our recent working paper, where we investigate the matter. Rather than focusing on a single object like the forecasted mean or median, we look at the entire distribution of stock returns and find that the realized volatility of stock returns, especially financial sector stock returns, has strong predictive content for the future distribution of stock returns. This is a robust feature of the data since all of our results are obtained with real-time analyses using stock return data since the 1920s. Motivated by this result, we then evaluate whether the banking system appears healthier today, and if recent regulatory reforms have helped.
Doug Brain, Michiel De Pooter, Dobrislav Dobrev, Michael Fleming, Peter Johansson, Collin Jones, Frank Keane, Michael Puglia, Liza Reiderman, Tony Rodrigues, and Or Shachar
The U.S. Treasury market is widely regarded as the deepest and most liquid securities market in the world, playing a critical role in the global economy and in the Federal Reserve’s implementation of monetary policy. Despite the Treasury market’s importance, the official sector has historically had limited access to information on cash market transactions. This data gap was most acutely demonstrated in the investigation of the October 15, 2014, flash event in the Treasury market, as highlighted in the Joint Staff Report (JSR). Following the JSR, steps were taken to improve regulators’ access to information on Treasury market activity, as detailed in a previous Liberty Street Economics post, with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) members beginning to submit data on cash market transactions to FINRA’s Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) on July 10, 2017. This joint FEDS Note and Liberty Street Economics blog post from staff at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and Federal Reserve Bank of New York aims to share initial insights on the transactions data reported to TRACE, focusing on trading volumes in the market.
Adam Copeland, Michael Fleming, Frank Keane, and Radhika Mithal
The Treasury Market Practices Group (TMPG) recently released a consultative white paper on clearing and settlement processes for secondary market trades of U.S. Treasury securities. The paper describes in detail the many ways Treasury trades are cleared and settled— information that may not be readily available to all market participants—and identifies potential risk and resiliency issues. The work is designed to facilitate discussion as to whether current practices have room for improvement. In this post, we summarize the current state of clearing and settlement for secondary market Treasury trades and highlight some of the risks described in the white paper.
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.
The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Asani Sarkar, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.
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