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Understanding the Weekend Effect: How Stock Markets Behave Over Weekends


In the dynamic world of stock markets, prices go up and down based on demand and supply. While fundamental factors like company performance, P/E ratio earnings, and news play a pivotal role in predicting stock movements, there’s another intriguing phenomenon at play – the weekend effect. This phenomenon talks about the curious tendency of stock prices to behave differently on Mondays compared to other weekdays. 

Today, we’ll understand the weekend effect and explore its presence in the Indian stock market, its underlying reasons, and delve into the strategies to avoid it. 

What is the weekend effect?

The weekend effect is a curious observation in financial markets where stock returns on Mondays tend to be notably lower than those on Fridays. While the exact cause is debated, it’s believed that the behavior of individual investors plays a significant role. This irrationality is reflected in the high volatility of stock prices, influenced by external factors and subconscious biases.

Interestingly, Mondays tend to see more selling activity, especially following negative business news. For short-term traders, Fridays are typically preferred for selling stocks, as prices tend to be higher. Conversely, Mondays historically show lower stock prices, making it ideal for traders to buy more stocks. 

The weekend effect is sometimes referred to as the Monday effect. It is defined as Monday’s stock prices mirroring Friday’s closing direction. For example, if Friday ended on an uptrend, Monday would follow suit, and vice versa. However, the reality is more complicated, as stock prices can be influenced by various market trends and investor behaviour. 

Weekend effect on the Indian stock market

The weekend effect on stocks is not just a Western phenomenon. It can be equally seen in the Indian stock market and many researchers have mentioned it in their studies. 

Prominent researchers like Roger Ignatius and Golaka Nath along with Manoj Dalvi have studied the weekend effect in the Indian stock market during different periods. Their findings revealed a weak form of the weekend effect, indicating that Mondays often witness lower returns compared to Fridays even in the Indian scenario. 

One explanation given for this phenomenon is the release of negative news over the weekends. This influences the majority of investors, prompting them to sell their holdings on the following Monday, thereby leading to low returns. 

Apart from the weekend effect, researchers have also noted the presence of a negative Tuesday effect. This means that returns on Tuesdays are even lower than those on Mondays. This trend has been observed for indices like the Nifty 50, Nifty Midcap 50, and Nifty Smallcap 50. 

The origin of the weekend effect?

The weekend effect was first identified in 1973 by Frank Cross in his article “The Behavior of Stock Prices on Fridays and Mondays.” Cross noticed a peculiar trend: the average returns on Fridays were higher than those on Mondays, and there was a noticeable difference in how prices changed between these days.

Frank Cross conducted a statistical analysis of price changes between 1953 and 1970. He found that Mondays were consistently the worst-performing days for the stock market. On Mondays, the market closed only 39.2%, compared to Fridays, which saw gains of about 62%. 

This observation, known as the “Monday decline,” laid the groundwork for what we now call the weekend effect.

What causes the weekend effect?

Four identified causes for the weekend effect are- 

  1. Broker recommendations: Investors tend to follow their brokers’ advice during the busy weekdays, but on weekends, they have more time to make their own decisions, often resulting in selling stocks.
  1. Trade settlement time: Trades take several days to settle, so stocks tend to close higher on Fridays and lower on Mondays due to this delay.
  1. Ex-dividend dates: Common stocks often have ex-dividend dates on Mondays, leading to lower prices over the weekend.
  1. Negative corporate news: The most prominent cause of the weekend effect is bad news about companies tends to come out after markets close on Fridays, causing stocks to open lower on Mondays.

Strategies to avoid the weekend effect

Now that you know the causes of the weekend effect, here are some strategies to avoid the effect during trading- 

  1. Reduce Position Sizes- By reducing the size of your positions, you lower your exposure to sudden market movements that often occur over the weekend. This can help mitigate the impact of the weekend effect, where prices may change significantly from Friday to Monday.
  1. Use Stop Loss Orders Implementing stop-loss orders can protect investors from significant losses if the market moves against their positions over the weekend. This tool can be particularly useful during times of high volatility. 
  1. Avoid Illiquid Securities- During periods of market turmoil, illiquid securities can be especially risky. By avoiding illiquid securities, investors can reduce the likelihood of loss due to unexpected price movements over the weekend.
  1. Diversify Your Portfolio Diversification is a key strategy for managing risk in investment portfolios. By spreading investments across different asset classes, sectors, and regions, investors can reduce their exposure to the weekend effect. 
  1. Consider Hedging StrategiesHedging strategies, such as options or futures contracts, can help protect against adverse movements in the market over the weekend. 
  1. Stay Informed- By staying updated on market trends and events, you can make more informed decisions about your investments and adjust your strategies accordingly to minimize risks associated with the weekend effect.


The weekend effect refers to the phenomenon where stock prices tend to exhibit certain patterns of behaviour between Friday’s close and Monday’s open. This can include increased volatility, lower trading volumes, and price movements that are often unfavourable to investors. 

Understanding the weekend effect is crucial for traders to mitigate its impact and avoid future losses. By adopting some of the strategies mentioned above traders can trade effectively avoiding heavy losses at every weekend. 


What is the weekend effect?

The weekend effect refers to certain patterns in stock prices between Friday’s close and Monday’s open, often characterized by increased volatility and low stock prices.

Which day of the week is best to buy stocks?

There isn’t a universally “best” day to buy stocks, as it depends on various factors. However, some investors may find opportunities on Mondays, as stocks tend to open lower due to the weekend effect.

Are there specific sectors or types of stocks more affected by the weekend effect?

Certain sectors, like technology or biotech, and types of stocks, such as small-cap or speculative, can be more susceptible to the weekend effect due to their volatility and investor sentiment.

Can algorithmic trading exacerbate or mitigate the weekend effect?

Algorithmic trading can both increase and mitigate the weekend effect. While algorithms can exacerbate volatility during weekends, they can also execute trades efficiently, helping to stabilize prices.

Are there specific trading patterns linked to the weekend effect that investors should know about?

 Yes, investors should be aware of certain trading patterns associated with the weekend effect. These may include:
Increased volatility
Lower trading volumes
Monday opening gaps
Reversal of Friday trends

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