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The unemployment-stock market relationship in South Africa: Evidence from symmetric and asymmetric cointegration models

Tapa, Nosipho and Tom, Zandile and Lekoma, Molebogeng and Ebersohn, J. and Phiri, Andrew (2016): The unemployment-stock market relationship in South Africa: Evidence from symmetric and asymmetric cointegration models.

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Abstract

In this study, we examine linear and nonlinear cointegration and causal relations between unemployment and stock market returns in South Africa using quarterly data collected between 1994:Q1 and 2016:Q1. Our empirical results reveal significant cointegration effects between the time series in both linear and nonlinear models, even though both frameworks ultimately reject the notion of any causal relations between the variables. Collectively, our study rejects the notion of unemployment being a good predictor for stock market returns and neither do developments in the stock market have any effect on the unemployment rate. Such evidence advocates for weak-form efficiency in the JSE equity prices whereby unemployment data cannot help investors to predict the movement of future share prices and further suggests that policymakers cannot rely on stock market development as an avenue towards lowering the prevailingly high levels of unemployment as set in current macroeconomic policy objectives.

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