Just Who Really Moves the Markets at the Fed?
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reclaimed the title — after a rare upset — as the central bank's market mover based on the monetary policy speeches he gave last year, former Fed governor Laurence Meyer told CNBC on Friday.
Meyer, co-founder of Macroeconomic Advisers, looked at every speech made by Fed policymakers last year and the effect they had on the 10-year Treasury yield — instead of the 2-year yield, as in past years, because it's been "pinned down by the FOMC's increasingly explicit funds-rate guidance," he wrote in his Fixed Income Focus commentary.
Bernanke led the pack with a total impact of 18 basis points. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart and Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher were close on his heels with impacts of 17 and 16 basis points, respectively. The previous year's surprise winner, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, and New York Fed President William Dudley followed — both with an impact of 12 basis points each.
"There is so much influence [in the market] by other members of the committee other than the chairman and other than [Vice Chair Janet Yellen]," Meyer said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "Sometimes these speeches are interesting. But they are basically noise. I think the markets overreact."
But Fed speeches don't top the list when it comes to market-moving events, Meyer said. In fact, they're third behind the Fed's official statements on monetary policy and the minutes of the Fed meetings.
As for who gave the most speeches, Fisher delivered 22 last year. Bullard with 14, Lockart with 13, and Bernanke with 12 — not including his news conferences — followed.
(Read More: Time to End the 'Monetary Ritalin': Fed's Fisher)
Meyer explained that the number of speeches policymakers give affects their ability to move the markets overall. "If you look at impact per speech, Fisher is like twelfth" with a move of 0.8 basis points, Meyer said.
In that impact per speech category, Bernanke had the largest impact with 1.5 basis points. Lockhart, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, and Dudley were next with 1.3 basis points each.
Meyer wrote in his commentary, "President Lockhart is considered a centrist and perhaps his remarks are closely scrutinized by the market for signs of where the Committee's consensus might be headed. President Lacker, who dissented at every meeting in 2012 and consistently pushed back against the center-dove coalition, led [with Lockhart and Dudley] the rest of the pack on an impact-per-speech basis."