Transmission of macro-liquidity shocks to liquidity-sorted stock portfolios’ returns: The role of the financial crisis
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This study examines the impact of macro-liquidity shocks on the returns of UK stock portfolios sorted on the basis of a series of micro-liquidity measures. The macro-liquidity shocks are extracted on the meeting days of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee relative to market expectations embedded in futures contracts on the 3-month LIBOR during the period June 1999- December 2009. We report definitive evidence that these shocks are transmitted to the cross-section of liquidity-sorted portfolios, with most liquid stocks playing a very active role. Our results emphatically document that the shocks-returns relationship has reversed its sign during the recent financial crisis; the standard inverse relationship between interest rate surprises and portfolios’ returns before the crisis has turned into positive during the crisis. This finding confirms the inability of interest rate cuts to boost returns in the shortrun during the crisis, because these were perceived by market participants as a signal of a deteriorating economic outlook.