Friday, September 04, 2015

Do stock markets catch the flu? New study by UTSA professor says yes

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(Jan. 24, 2013) -- Chances are you or someone you know has suffered from the flu within the past few months. In fact, this winter, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported some of the highest levels of influenza in several years. But, your health may not be the only thing that suffers during a flu epidemic. In fact, stock market trading activity decreases when flu incidence is high, according to a new study by John Wald, UTSA professor of finance in the College of Business.

The study, "Do Stock Markets Catch the Flu?" is forthcoming in the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis. Wald and his co-authors examined the impact of influenza on stock markets, studying the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for trading activity and the CDC and Google Flu Trends to measure flu activity in and outside the United States over 13 years.

The results noted that in the United States, a higher incidence of flu is associated with decreased trading, decreased volatility, decreased returns and higher bid-ask spreads. Consistent with the flu affecting institutional investors and market makers, the decrease in trading activity and volatility is primarily driven by the incidence of influenza in the New York City area. However, the effect of the flu on bid-ask spreads and returns is related to the incidence of flu nationally. International data confirm their findings of a decrease in trading activity and returns when flu incidence is high.

So, should investors be wary of flu season? Wald says: "The importance of local flu effects on financial markets suggests that it may be important for companies to urge their key employees to get a flu shot."

 

 

Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.

At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.

Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.

With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.

Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.

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