NBER Working Paper No. 25525
Issued in February 2019
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Since 2010, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has purchased stocks to boost domestic firms’ valuations to increase GDP growth. The stock return elasticity with respect to BOJ purchases relative to the previous month’s market cap is around 2 and increases across longer horizons. Over one quarter, BOJ share purchases worth 1% of assets correspond to an increase of 1% in share valuation and a .27% increase in assets. Consistent with elevated valuations letting firms “cash out,” BOJ share purchases predict equity issuances and fewer stock buybacks. However, less than 9% of increased assets reflect net tangible capital investments, whereas cash and short-term investments account for over 50%. This unconventional monetary stimulus thus boosts share prices but is largely not transmitted into real investment growth.