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Rain or Shine: Where is the Weather Effect?

31 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2003  

Ning Zhu

China Academy of Financial Research (CAFR); Yale School of Management; University of California, Davis - Graduate School of Management

William N. Goetzmann

Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2003

Abstract

Saunders (1993) and Hirshleifer and Shumway (2001) document the effect of weather on stock returns. The proposed explanation in both papers is that investor mood affects cognitive processes and trading decisions. In this paper, we use a database of individual investor accounts to examine the weather effects on traders. Our analysis of the trading activity in five major U.S. cities over a six-year period finds vistually no difference in individuals propensity to buy or sell equities on cloudy days as opposed to sunny days. If the association between cloud cover and stock returns documented for New York and other world cities is indeed caused by investor mood swings, our findings suggest that researchers should focus on the attitudes of market-makers, news providers or other agents physically located in the city hosting the exchange. NYSE spreads widen on cloudy days. When we control for this, the significance of the weather effect is dramatically reduced. We interpret this as evidence that the behavior of market-makers, rather than individual investors, may be responsible for the relation between returns and weather.

Suggested Citation

Zhu, Ning and Goetzmann, William N., Rain or Shine: Where is the Weather Effect? (February 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9465. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=375317

Ning Zhu

China Academy of Financial Research (CAFR)

1954 Huashan Road
Shanghai P.R.China, 200030
China

Yale School of Management ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~nz26/

University of California, Davis - Graduate School of Management ( email )

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530-752-3871 (Phone)
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HOME PAGE: http://www.gsm.ucdavis.edu/Faculty/Zhu/

William N. Goetzmann (Contact Author)

Yale School of Management - International Center for Finance ( email )

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New Haven, CT 06520-8200
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203-436-9252 (Fax)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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United States

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