This paper examines three important issues related to the relationship between stock returns and volatility. First, are Duffee's (1995) findings of the relationship between individual stock returns and volatility valid at the portfolio level? Second, is there a seasonality of the market return volatility? Lastly, do size portfolio returns react symmetrically to the market volatility during business cycles? We find that the market volatility exhibits strong autocorrelation and small size portfolio returns exhibit seasonality. However, this phenomenon is not present in large size portfolios. For the entire sample period of 1962–1995, the highest average monthly volatility occurred in October, followed by November, and then January. Examining the two sub-sample periods, we find that the average market volatility increases by 15.4% in the second sample period of 1980–1995 compared to the first sample period of 1962–1979. During the contraction period, the average market volatility is 60.9% higher than that during the expansion period. Using a binary regression model, we find that size portfolio returns react asymmetrically with the market volatility during business cycles. This paper documents a strongly negative contemporaneous relationship between the size portfolio returns and the market volatility that is consistent with the previous findings at the aggregate level, but is inconsistent with the findings at the individual firm level. In contrast with the previous findings, however, we find an ambiguous relationship between the percentage change in the market volatility and the contemporaneous stock portfolio returns. This ambiguity is attributed to strongly negative contemporaneous and one-month ahead relationships between the market volatility and portfolio returns.
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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