Banking sector performance amid crisis : A study on the impact of quantitative easing on bank stock returns in the US during COVID-19

University essay from Jönköping University/IHH, Företagsekonomi

Abstract: It is widely accepted that banks are one of the most significant financial intermediaries in any economy, facilitating the flow of capital between savers and borrowers. While this may be the case in many advanced economies, including the US, little research has been done on how the quantitative easing (QE) program of central banks affects bank performance. This paper examines the impact of the Federal Reserve’s (the Fed’s) quantitative easing (QE) policies and announcements on bank stocks in the United States (US) during the Covid period. While we do not dismiss the role of investor sentiment, we discover that QE interventions improved bank stock returns albeit with a lag in the case of balance sheet expansion. Furthermore, the impact varied with a greater response from banks with stronger balance sheets. Banks with weaker balance sheets were more sensitive to QE interventions as well. These findings have practical implications for policymakers, regulators, banks and market participants to make informed decisions during crises

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