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In this paper we propose a continuous time model capable of describing the dynamics of futures equity index returns at different time frequencies. Unlike several related works in the literature, we avoid specifying a model a priori and we attempt, instead, to infer it from the analysis of a data set of 5-minute returns on the S&P500 futures contract. We start with a very general specification. First we model the seasonal pattern in intraday volatility. Once we correct for this component, wedoi:10.1142/s0219024904002773 fatcat:qculguvuhzf7vjcn3hq2zjeow4