Quarterly Seasonality in U.S. Stock Returns
School of Business | Master's thesis
Unless otherwise stated, all rights belong to the author. You may download, display and print this publication for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.
AbstractThis Thesis proves a quarterly seasonality pattern in U.S. stock returns: stock’s expected return in a given month t is correlated with its returns in past lagged quarterend months i.e. months t-3,6,9,…. Strategies based on quarterend lags outperform those based on past returns of all months. Unlike in the case past returns in general, the correlation between the stock price and quarterend lags does not reverse after the most recent past year. Indeed, the quarterend lags do not seem to contribute to long-term return reversal phenomena. The return pattern is strong. A zero-investment strategy investing based on the returns of the past four quarterends yields on average 1.25% per month in the period of 1946-2016 and is both more profitable and less risky than a traditional momentum portfolio during the same period. Returns of zero-investment quarterend portfolios are significantly positive in all tested formation intervals up to lagged 20 years. Quarterly seasonality cannot be solely explained by the annual seasonality found by Heston and Sadka (2008) but portfolios based on nonannual quarterend lags still yield higher returns than other strategies. The quarterend pattern is stronger in value weighted returns but also exists in equal weighted portfolios. Controlling for firm-specific events of the calendar year like earnings announcements and ex-dividend dates does not diminish the superiority of quarterend strategies, nor are their returns tied to any particular calendar period of the year.
Thesis advisorNyberg, Peter
momentum, effect of past returns, cross-sectional seasonality, quarterly seasonality