What Is the Weekend Effect?
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What Is the Weekend Effect?

3 Min.

The weekend effect is a pattern observed in financial markets where the returns on stocks on Mondays are considerably lower than those on the preceding Friday. While the cause of this phenomenon is still debated, the trading actions of individual investors seem to be one contributing factor. Some theories suggest that companies tend to release negative news on Fridays after the markets close, resulting in a drop in stock prices on Monday.

Basics

In financial markets, an intriguing phenomenon unfolds, known as the "weekend effect." It pertains to the tendency for stock returns on Mondays to exhibit notable declines compared to those observed immediately preceding Friday.

The weekend effect is occasionally called the "Monday effect," albeit with a contrasting perspective. The theory posits that stock market returns on Mondays will mirror the prevailing trend from the preceding Friday. If the market exhibited an upswing on Friday, this upward momentum is anticipated to persist over the weekend and subsequently continue on Monday, and conversely, in the case of a downturn. Herein lies an explanation of the operational dynamics of the weekend effect.

Exploring the Weekend Effect

One rationale behind the weekend effect stems from the propensity of human behavior towards irrationality. The trading conduct of individual investors emerges as a contributing factor to this intriguing pattern. In the face of uncertainty, human decision-making frequently deviates from sound judgment. Capital markets, at times, mirror the irrational tendencies of their participants, particularly given the elevated stock price volatility and external influences that may subconsciously sway investor decisions. Notably, Mondays witness heightened selling activity, particularly in response to adverse market developments.

In 1973, Frank Cross brought attention to the curious phenomenon of negative Monday returns in his article, "The Behavior of Stock Prices on Fridays and Mondays," published in the Financial Analysts Journal. His research unveiled that Friday's average return outpaced Monday's, with distinct patterns of price fluctuations between the two days. Mondays consistently recorded stock price declines following Friday's upturn, translating into a recurrent trend of low or negative average returns from Friday to Monday in the stock market.

Various theories have attempted to elucidate the weekend effect. Some attribute it to companies strategically releasing adverse news on Fridays after market hours, subsequently exerting downward pressure on stock prices on Monday. Others suggest a connection between the weekend effect and short selling, affecting stocks with substantial short-interest positions. Alternatively, it could manifest traders' diminishing optimism from Friday to Monday.

The weekend effect has persisted in stock trading patterns for an extended period. A Federal Reserve study showed a statistically significant negative return over weekends existed before 1987. However, it noted the disappearance of this negative return between 1987 and 1998. Since 1998, weekend volatility has resurged, and the underlying cause of the weekend effect remains a contentious subject.

What Is the Reverse Weekend Effect?

Counter to the conventional weekend effect, certain analysts have delved into the "reverse weekend effect." Their findings unveil that Monday returns surprisingly outperform returns observed on other trading days.

Further research has exposed the presence of multiple weekend effects, contingent upon the scale of firms. Small enterprises exhibit diminished Monday returns, while their larger counterparts experience heightened ones. Interestingly, it is posited that the reverse weekend effect exclusively manifests within U.S. stock markets.

Conclusion

The weekend effect in financial markets, characterized by lower Monday returns, remains a subject of debate. Human behavior, including irrational trading by individual investors, contributes to this phenomenon. Some attribute it to companies releasing negative news on Fridays. The reverse weekend effect challenges this norm, with some research suggesting higher Monday returns. Variations are also observed based on firm size, primarily in U.S. stock markets.

Weekend Effect
Reverse Weekend Effect
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