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Seasonal Variation in Treasury Returns


  • Kamstra, Mark J.
  • Kramer, Lisa A.
  • Levi, Maurice D.


We document an annual cycle in U.S. Treasuries, with variation in mean monthly returns of over 80 basis points from peak to trough. This seasonal Treasury return pattern does not arise due to macroeconomic seasonalities, seasonal variation in risk, cross-hedging between equity and Treasury markets, conventional measures of investor sentiment, the weather, seasonalities in the Treasury market auction schedule, seasonalities in the Treasury debt supply, seasonalities in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) cycle, or peculiarities of the sample period considered. Rather, it is correlated with a proxy for variation in risk aversion linked to seasonal mood changes. Such a model can explain more than sixty percent of the average seasonal variation in monthly Treasury returns. The White (2000) reality test suggests this is not data snooping.

Suggested Citation

  • Kamstra, Mark J. & Kramer, Lisa A. & Levi, Maurice D., 2015. "Seasonal Variation in Treasury Returns," Critical Finance Review, now publishers, vol. 4(1), pages 45-115, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jnlcfr:104.00000021
    DOI: 10.1561/104.00000021

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    Cited by:

    1. Qadan, Mahmoud & Kliger, Doron, 2016. "The short trading day anomaly," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(PA), pages 62-80.
    2. Murfin, Justin & Petersen, Mitchell, 2016. "Loans on sale: Credit market seasonality, borrower need, and lender rents," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 300-326.
    3. Frühwirth, Manfred & Sögner, Leopold, 2015. "Weather and SAD related mood effects on the financial market," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 11-31.
    4. Pedersen, Michael, 2019. "Anomalies in macroeconomic prediction errors–evidence from Chilean private forecasters," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1100-1107.
    5. Kliger, Doron & Qadan, Mahmoud, 2019. "The High Holidays: Psychological mechanisms of honesty in real-life financial decisions," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 121-137.
    6. Birru, Justin, 2018. "Day of the week and the cross-section of returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 182-214.
    7. Allan Timmermann, 2018. "Forecasting Methods in Finance," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 449-479, November.
    8. Guy Kaplanski & Haim Levy, 2017. "Seasonality in Perceived Risk: A Sentiment Effect," Quarterly Journal of Finance (QJF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(01), pages 1-21, March.
    9. Yoichi Sekizawa & Yoko Konishi, 2021. "Are consumer confidence and asset value expectations positively associated with length of daylight?: An exploration of psychological mediators between length of daylight and seasonal asset price trans," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 16(1), pages 1-17, January.
    10. Qadan, Mahmoud & Aharon, David Y. & Cohen, Gil, 2020. "Everybody likes shopping, including the US capital market," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 551(C).

    More about this item


    Treasury bond returns; Treasury note returns; Market seasonality; Time-varying risk aversion;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates


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