Non-stationarities in stock returns
The paper outlines a methodology for analyzing daily stock returns that relinquishes the assumption of global stationarity. Giving up this common working hypothesis reflects our belief that fundamental features of the financial markets are continuously and significantly changing. Our approach approximates locally the non-stationary data by stationary models. The methodology is applied to the S&P 500 series of returns covering a period of over seventy years of market activity. We find most of the dynamics of this time series to be concentrated in shifts of the unconditional variance. The forecasts based on our non-stationary unconditional modeling were found to be superior to those obtained in a stationary long memory framework or to those based on a stationary Garch(1,1) data generating process.
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