DP13990 The War Next Door and the Reds are Coming: The Spanish Civil War and the Portuguese Stock Market

Author(s): Diogo Leitão, Jaime Pereira, João Pereira Santos, José Tavares
Publication Date: September 2019
Keyword(s): economic history, financial markets, Spanish Civil War, stock price, uncertainty
JEL(s): C12, C58, G12, N43, N83
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13990

The Spanish Civil War (July 1936 to April 1939) was a key event that paved the way for World War II, unfolding with unprecedented violence and uncertainty over the its outcome. In this paper, we analyze the impact of the events of the Spanish Civil War on the Portuguese stock returns. Portugal is a particularly interesting case for analysis given its geographical exposure and historical ties to Spain as well as its political ties to the Nationalist side. Unlike previous studies of stock market responses to World War II outcomes, in our period of analysis the world at large was at peace, allowing for a clearer attribution of causation. We examine investors' reactions to news from the Spanish War using a panel of weekly returns for firms listed on the Lisbon Stock market, after classifying a series of important developments of the Spanish Civil War, classified according to its nature â?? military or political, and which contender emerged as favored â?? the Republicans, on the left, or the Nationalists, on the right. We run dynamic specifications with firm and month fixed effects, controlling for the reference interest rate in London, and events in Portugal. Our results reveal that Spanish Civil War events affect returns negatively, especially events that are military in nature. When we break down our sample into overseas firms â?? those whose most significant assets were located in Africa â?? and non-overseas firms, the latter present more significant effects from the event variables, especially from the Pro-Republican military events. Our findings are robust to the different specifications and suggest that both general uncertainty and partisan preferences affect Portuguese returns.