How Fed Rates Move Markets

How Fed Rates Move Markets

Organisation: The Wall Street Journal (United States)

Publication Date: 04/08/2016

Size of team/newsroom:large


The first U.S. Federal Reserve rate increase in more than a decade was a pivotal moment for financial markets and the evolution of monetary policy. This data visualization was pegged to the December FOMC meeting and is geared to the WSJ’s core readership. We show the evolving response to the rate change and provide the historical context, in a mobile-first format. This interactive looks at how Treasurys, mortgage rates, stocks and the dollar respond when the Federal Reserve changes its interest-rate benchmark. It updates daily, so that it doesn't just tell readers what happened in earlier cycles but allows them to track what is happening now.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

We designed and created a graphic that works on small screens without sacrificing the level of information our readers expect from WSJ financial graphics. Our scroll-based navigation gives the reader an integrated view of rates and markets as he/she progresses at his/her own pace through the data. We applied this increasingly common UX technique to present complex data in a novel and user-friendly format. And since it updates, as the current rate cycle evolves, the graphic will as well.

Technologies used for this project:

In the browser: D3 for creating the yield curve charts, jQuery and Mustache.js for building and manipulating the DOM, Moment.js for manipulating and formatting dates, and a custom-built JavaScript library called "scrollWatcher" to handle the scroll-driven interaction. On the server: Internal WSJ financial data APIs for sourcing the data, and several PHP scripts to compile them into the JSON format sent to the browser.


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