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Morning Momentum and Afternoon Reversal for Stock Returns

September 8, 2022 • Posted in Calendar Effects, Momentum Investing

Do morning and afternoon stock returns convey different meanings due to gradual dissipation of information asymmetry among traders during the trading day (as the market digests overnight news)? In their August 2022 paper entitled “A Tale of One Day: Morning Momentum, Afternoon Reversal”, Haoyu Xu and Xiaoneng Zhu investigate differences in implications for reversal and momentum strategies among morning (9:30AM – 11:30AM), midday (11:30AM – 2:00PM) and afternoon  (2:00PM – 4:00PM). Specifically, they:

  • For each stock each month, cumulate returns over these three intervals.
  • Sort stocks into tenths, or deciles, based either on cumulative returns over the most recent month (for reversal testing) or compounded cumulative returns from 12 months ago to one month ago (for momentum testing) for different combinations of these three intervals.
  • Reform various long-short portfolios using extreme deciles to explore the different predictive powers of past morning and afternoon returns.

For reversal tests, they apply equal weighting. For momentum tests, they consider both value and equal weightings. They calculate raw returns, 3-factor (market, size, book-to-market) alphas and 4-factor (adding momentum) alphas as essential performance statistics. They use conventional strategies using full daily returns as benchmarks. Using intraday and daily return data for a broad sample of U.S. common stocks priced at least $5 during 1993 through 2018, they find that:


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