Financial markets

Lubos Pastor, Pietro Veronesi, 25 May 2017

Since 2000, political uncertainty has had a strong influence on market volatility in the US. Since Donald Trump became president, however, high policy uncertainty has not translated into high market volatility. Building on a theoretical framework linking stock prices and political news, this column argues that the US market does not respond to political uncertainty because political news coming from the new administration has been unreliable and difficult for investors to interpret. 

Teunis Brosens, 24 May 2017

Much progress has been made in recent years to improve the financial integration of the Eurozone.  This column argues that while banking union promotes stability, markets remain fragmented and consumers aren’t yet fully enjoying the fruits of integration. With Brexit on the horizon, it is up to the remaining EU member states to foster competition and efficiency in financial services by completing the banking union, harmonising national regulation, and accelerating the realisation of a true capital markets union. 

Mélika Ben Salem, Bárbara Castelletti, 15 May 2017

In the aftermath of the Global Crisis, sovereign yield differentials have increasingly widened among European developed countries. Financial markets seem to discriminate among peripheral economies requiring a higher risk premium than is justified by fiscal factors only. This column discusses the causes of this phenomenon. In peripheral countries, it is not due simply to the lack of fiscal discipline, but to a combination of both internal and external imbalances.

Vahid Gholampour, Eric van Wincoop, 15 May 2017

Large numbers of traders share their thoughts about the euro-dollar exchange rate on Twitter. By identifying and classifying opinionated tweets, and constructing a daily measure of sentiment, this column shows that a trading strategy that takes long or short positions based on the forecasts of high-follower accounts provides a Sharpe ratio significantly above that of the carry trade. The methodology could easily be applied to other currencies or portfolios of currencies, as well as other financial markets such as the stock market.

Toby Nangle, Matt Tickle, 20 April 2017

While defined benefit pension schemes are typically viewed as users rather than sources of sponsor-firm funds, the considerations taken into account when firms choose to scale contributions are such that they become indistinguishable from other firm financing decisions. This column analyses how pension scheme funding deficits arise and argues that whilst deficits do not exist by design, firms’ decision to fund or underfund a defined benefit scheme might usefully be examined as one of many competing sources of long-term finance.

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