Market Liquidity and Trading Activity


  • Tarun Chordia,

  • Richard Roll,

  • Avanidhar Subrahmanyam

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    • Chordia is from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Roll and Subrahmanyam are from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA. We are grateful to Larry Glosten, an anonymous referee, and René Stulz (the editor) for insightful and constructive criticism. We also thank David Aboody, Michael Brennan, Larry Harris, Ananth Madhavan, Kevin Murphy, Narayan Naik, K.R. Subramanyam, Bob Wood, a second anonymous referee, and seminar participants at the University of Southern California, INSEAD, Southern Methodist University, MIT, the Univeristy of Chicago, University of Houston, and the London Business School for useful comments and suggestions, Ashley Wang for excellent research assistance, and Barry Dombro as well as Christoph Schenzler for help with the transactions data.


Previous studies of liquidity span short time periods and focus on the individual security. In contrast, we study aggregate market spreads, depths, and trading activity for U.S. equities over an extended time sample. Daily changes in market averages of liquidity and trading activity are highly volatile and negatively serially dependent. Liquidity plummets significantly in down markets. Recent market volatility induces a decrease in trading activity and spreads. There are strong day-of-the-week effects; Fridays accompany a significant decrease in trading activity and liquidity, while Tuesdays display the opposite pattern. Long- and short-term interest rates influence liquidity. Depth and trading activity increase just prior to major macroeconomic announcements.