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Rain or Shine: Where is the Weather Effect?


  • William N. Goetzmann
  • Ning Zhu


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

  • William N. Goetzmann & Ning Zhu, 2003. "Rain or Shine: Where is the Weather Effect?," NBER Working Papers 9465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9465
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Easley & Soeren Hvidkjaer & Maureen O'Hara, 2002. "Is Information Risk a Determinant of Asset Returns?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 2185-2221, October.
    2. Stephen Brown & William Goetzmann & Takato Hiraki & Noriyoshi Shiraishi & Masahiro Watanabe, 2002. "Investor Sentiment in Japanese and U.S. Daily Mutual Fund Flows," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm274, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Apr 2008.
    3. Chordia, Tarun & Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar & Anshuman, V. Ravi, 2001. "Trading activity and expected stock returns," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 3-32, January.
    4. Goetzmann, William N. & Massa, Massimo, 2002. "Daily Momentum and Contrarian Behavior of Index Fund Investors," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 37(03), pages 375-389, September.
    5. Saunders, Edward M, Jr, 1993. "Stock Prices and Wall Street Weather," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1337-1345, December.
    6. Shapira, Zur & Venezia, Itzhak, 2001. "Patterns of behavior of professionally managed and independent investors," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(8), pages 1573-1587, August.
    7. Mark Grinblatt & Matti Keloharju, 2000. "Distance, Language, and Culture Bias: The Role of Investor Sophistication," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm142, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Nov 2001.
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    More about this item

    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

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