Whirlwind Economics

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    Stock prices, floor trading and the bonds market are not the only things that affect the stock market these days.Research done by an associate professor in the Neeley School of Business shows that the temperament of the weather affects stock traders.

    Peter Locke, associate professor of finance, and two colleagues, Piman Limpaphayom and Pattarake Sarajoti, both of Sasin GIBA of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, conducted research they say proves that the weather in certain locations has an affect on the floor traders’ behavior.

    The research compares the relationship between the Chicago weather and the behavior of the traders in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

    Locke said there are suggestions in financial journals that said it would be nice to have accounts on traders’ behavior in certain locations where the weather is recorded at the same time.

    Their research, “Gone with the wind: Chicago’s weather and futures trading,” was featured in the Feb. 19 edition of Business Week and was presented earlier this month at the Asia-Pacific Futures Research Symposium in Shanghai.

    Several factors were analyzed, Locke said.

    “One of the most exciting things is that on excessively cloudy or windy days, after holding lots of things constant, these floor traders tend to not make as much money than they would on nicer days,” Locke said.

    “On sunny days, income is higher and timing better,” Limpaphayom said.

    There are no proven reasons why, but several ideas were thought of, he said.

    “We tell stories like there is just a mental thing that causes the traders not to focus as much,” Locke said. “Why that is, we don’t know. But there are studies out there about ionization and human behavior when it comes to weather.”

    Aimee Housinger, a sophomore finance major, said, “I think the research is very interesting. I had no idea that weather could affect the futures traders’ behavior in that way.”

    The research will also be published in the Review of Futures Markets, Locke said.

    The Review of Futures Markets is a financial journal published by the Chicago Board of Trade.

    “It’s always a thrill knowing that your work will be published because it’s such a struggle,” Locke said. “It’s kind of like spiking the ball after a touchdown.

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