The persistence of the small firm/January effect: Is it consistent with investors' learning and arbitrage efforts?
Using improved methodology and an expanded research design, we examine whether the small firm/January effect (Keim, D. B. (1983). Size-related anomalies and stock return seasonality: further empirical evidence. Journal of Financial Economics 12:13-32), is declining over time due to market efficiency. First, we find that January returns are smaller after 1963-1979, but have simply reverted to levels that existed before that time. Second, we show that the January effect is not limited to mature markets but also appears in firms trading on the relatively new NASDAQ exchange in the 1970s. Third, trading volume for small firms in December and January is not different from other months, implying that traders are not actively arbitraging the anomaly. Together, our results suggest that this anomaly continues to defy rational explanation in an efficient market.
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