“Pre-Announcement Risk” by Dr. Toomas Laarits
Dr. Toomas Laarits
Assistant Professor of Finance
I propose and test a new explanation for the pre-FOMC announcement drift puzzle. I show that such a drift arises in a model where investors interpret a given FOMC action differently based on recent news. If recent news has been good, FOMC announcements are seen as signals about economic conditions; if recent news has been poor, they are seen as signals about the Fed’s own policy stance. Consistent with the model, I demonstrate that the market return prior to the announcement − a proxy for recent news − predicts the interpretation of Fed action. In the model the pre-FOMC drift represents a risk premium associated with the resolution of uncertainty about announcement type. The model does not require informational leaks or biased beliefs and can account for the seasonality of aggregate returns over the FOMC calendar.