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Mutual Fund Flows and Seasonalities in Stock Returns

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Abstract

We propose a flow-based explanation for two long-standing anomalies in empirical finance – the Sell in May effect and the January effect. We find that the aggregate mutual fund flows exhibit similar seasonal patterns as stock returns. The Sell in May effect becomes insignificant in standard statistical tests after controlling for the impact of mutual fund flows on returns, with flow explaining about 54% of the variation in excess returns over the winter months. We also find that flow helps explaining the abnormally high returns of small-cap stocks in January. The Sell in May and January effects appear to be primarily a retail money effect. Similarly, the well-known co-movement between flow and market return is only present in retail fund flow. Overall, the evidence suggests that unanticipated rather than expected flow drives our results.

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  • Moritz Wagner & John Byong-Tek Lee & Dimitris Margaritis, 2018. "Mutual Fund Flows and Seasonalities in Stock Returns," Working Papers in Economics 18/17, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:18/17
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    Keywords

    Mutual funds; Fund flows; Return seasonality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors

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