What is the Hamptons effect?
There is a phenomenon that many observed around the Labor Day weekend. We call it the Hamptons effect. It refers to a trading dip before Labor Day weekend succeeded by a trading volume increase as soon as traders and investors return from their long weekend. But why was it called the Hamptons effect when it is not too related to Labor Day? The idea came from massive Wall Street traders who spend their remaining days of summer in the Hamptons. Elite people from New York would usually go to the Hamptons during summer.
Tell me more about the Hamptons effect.
We mentioned that an increased trading volume succeeds the dip. Is this a good sign? It can be. It should take the form of a rally when portfolio managers create trades to strengthen their total return as the latter part of the year approaches. On the other hand, it may also be a bad sign. How? It may negatively impact portfolio managers when they opt to make profits instead of opening or adding more to their positions. It will benefit investors and traders if they know the Hamptons effect because this calendar effect is not baseless. It depends on statistical analysis and evidence from anecdotes.
The Hamptons effect and the statistical case
The statistical case of the Hamptons effect is not the same for every sector. It might be more powerful for others. Let us say that we used S&P 500. The characteristics of the Hamptons effect will behave with a little bit more volatility and a minimal positive impact based on the period used. On the other hand, one can also use sector-level data and make a case showing that a stock profile gets more favor after the long weekend. For instance, the case might be about defensive stocks favored as the latter part of the year approaches. Hence, they benefit from the Hamptons effect. We assume that defensive stocks are consistent with their performance, just like food and utilities.
Trading and the Hamptons effect
Finding a pattern is one thing and depending on the pattern you found is another. During data analysis, you will most likely find yourself looking at attractive trends and patterns after the parameters shift. We can explain the Hamptons effect using market data and when adjustments are made to the period and stock type. But here is the thing: is the impact high enough that it can make a true performance benefit while considering taxes, fees, spreads, and the like?
But what about individual investors?
The answer for most individual investors is to the negative for the market anomaly. Average investors may find the Hamptons effect and any other anomalies that can be translated from data interesting. However, they also know that as an investment strategy, their value is not that relevant. It does not even matter if the market looks consistent. It can quickly decline as soon as traders and institutional ones try to take advantage of an interesting arbitrage opportunity.