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21

The minimum variance solution loads up on securities that have low variances and co-variances. Theoretically you are correct that this should have a low expected return profile. However, it turns out - in contradiction to modern portfolio theory - that securities that have low-volatility or low-beta experience higher returns than high-volatility or ...

20

I would consider a motion chart that plots the eigenvalues of the covariance matrix over time. For a static view you can create a table: rows represent dates, and columns represent eigenvectors. The entries of the table represent changes in the angle of the eigenvector from the previous row. This will show how stable your covariance structure is. You can ...

11

The PCA analysis does not really tell you what the bonds do but it tells you how the rates move together. The variations of $n$ rates (i.e. 1 y, 2y, ...) are split up in (at first) abstract factors like $$\Delta R_i = \sum_{j=1}^n e_{i,j} f_j$$ where $\Delta R_i$ is the change in the rate $i$ and $f_j$ is factor $j$ and $e_{i,j}$ is the (factor loading=) ...

10

Here's an interesting possibility: correlation network analysis + motion chart. Thanks to the hot research efforts in social network analysis (SNA), network analysis and graphics libraries such as R and Gephis are now easily accessible. I am well-versed in correlation analysis, and have a feeling that SNA can be effectively adapted for it. After all, the ...

10

Nick Higham happens to have given a talk on this very subject this summer; he continues to actively work to improve nearest correlation matrix algorithms. You can see his talk and notes here: http://mxm.mxmfb.com/rsps/ct/c/629/r/90368/l/48110

9

I am implementing a method in Java to calculate the variance, covariance, and value at risk for a portfolio, which should be flexible for use with any number of assets in a portfolio. I am struggling with how to calculate the covariance of the assets as I can only find formulae to do so for two or three sets of values. Are you sure you ...

8

You are correct: evaluating volatility forecasts is quite different from evaluating forecasts in general, and it is a very active area of research. Methods can be classified in several ways. One criterion is to consider evaluation methods for single forecasts (e.g., for the time series of returns of a specific portfolio) vs multiple simultaneous forecasts ...

8

The following papers may help. A New Look at Minimum Variance Investing by Bernd Scherer Minimum Variance Portfolio Composition by Clarke, De Silva & Thorley Under a multifactor risk-based model, if the global minimum variance portfolio dominates the market portfolio, the implication is that the market portfolio is not multifactor efficient and that ...

7

If $X \sim N(\mu, V)$ is multivariate gaussian, you can write $X = \mu + C Y$ where $Y \sim N(0,1)$ is a standard Gaussian and $C$ is the lower-triangular Choleski matrix of $V$. You can then express $v = \sum_{i=1}^n (X_i - S/n)^2$, where $S = \sum_{i=1}^n X_i$, in terms of $Y$ and $C$. (I do not reproduce the computations: they are straightforward.) ...

6

The short answer is that I don't know, but your question gives some hints about how to find out. The key thing for me is that you want a minimum variance portfolio. I don't think you should be thinking about some abstract mathematical operation that is "best", but rather look over a few mathematical operations and see which seems to work best for your ...

6

Unlike the tangency portfolio on the efficient frontier (which represents the most efficient portfolio in terms of max expected sharp ratio), min var portfolios have no ex ante theory that suggests it should outperform a cap weighted market portfolio. The same can be said about other risk-weighted portfolio construction schemes, including equal risk ...

5

The minimum variance optimization framework does not guarantee positive return whatsoever. As a matter of fact what you are trying to do is something close to the following: $$\underset{w}{\arg \min} \quad w' Q w \quad \text{s.t} \quad Aw \leq b,\quad \sum_i w_i=1$$ The fact that you get positive return is a nice result that you get from your backtest ...

5

I think an extremely interesting strand of research on this topic is represented by extensions of vine copulas with time-varying parameters. For vine copulas in general have a look at this site from the Technische Universität München: Vine Copula Models One of their research projects, which is the most relevant in this context, is:Time varying vine copula ...

5

In Oracle Crystal Ball, we use an old algorithm, that works pretty well and converges fast. It is from Iman-Conovar. Here is the reference: Iman, R.L., Conover, W.J. 1982. A distribution-free approach to inducing rank correlation among input variables. Commun. Statist.-Simula. Computa. 11, 311-334. That said, Prof. Higham's method based on optimization ...

5

The standard estimator of the covariance matrix is: $$\widehat{ \mathrm{cov}}(X) = \frac 1 {n-1} \sum_{i=1}^n (X_i-\bar X)(X_i-\bar X)^T,$$ where $X_i$ is the column vector containing the $i$th observation of all the observables. Each summand is an outer product of a vector with itself, i.e., a square matrix having rank at most one. Therefore ...

5

The given matrix can not represent a covariance matrix since it would imply that asset 1 is negatively correlated to asset 2 and asset 3. But asset 2 is negatively correlated to asset 3 which contradicts the first statement. In general a covariance matrix has to be positive semi-definite and symmetric, and conversely every positive semi-definite symmetric ...

5

To clarify notation, you have an universe of $n=2000 \space$ stocks and two portfolio vectors $\mathbf{a},\mathbf{b}\in\mathbb{R}^{n}$ with $\left\|\mathbf{a}\right\|_{1}=\left\|\mathbf{b}\right\|_{1}=1$. Further, you have Estimators for the true Variance $\operatorname{Var}\left[\mathbf{a}\right]$ resp. $\operatorname{Var}\left[\mathbf{b}\right]$ and the ...

5

Transaction costs - even for banks, funds etc, every trade has an associated cost, so if you would be buying a small number of shares, it's probably cheaper to carry the risk and not make those small trades. The source data is imperfect, and contains noise. A lot of the smaller components are simply artefacts of that noise so it would be both an unnecessary ...

5

The estimation of a covariance matrix is unstable unless the number of historical observations $T$ is greater than the number of securities $N$ (5000 in your example). Consider that 10 years of data represents only 120 monthly observations and about 2500 daily observations. Depending on the application, using data dating farther back than 10 years may be ...

5

Have a look at this classic paper: Honey, I Shrunk the Sample Covariance Matrix by O. Ledoit and M. Wolf The abstract answers your question already: The central message of this article is that no one should use the sample covariance matrix for portfolio optimization. It is subject to estimation error of the kind most likely to perturb a ...

4

You probably want to take it back to how one evaluates forecast models in general: using some metrics over one- or many-step forecasts, see e.g. here for a Wikipedia discussion. But instead of forecasting first moments, it would now be second moments. This can still use (root) mean squared error, or mean absolute percentage error, or related measures; ...

4

I'd look at the evolution of a heat map based on the correlation structure (literally the lower triangle). I'd probably write a script in R or python that writes out the heat map per t to disk, then use a command line program like imagemagick to stitch images together into an animated gif, for example. I'm sure you could do it entirely in Processing too, ...

4

You can use the Exponentially Weighted Average directly aswell, finding the covariances and then normalizing back to the correlations: $\sigma_{t+1,jk} = (1-\lambda) \sum_{n=0}^\infty \lambda^{n} r_{j,t-n} r_{k,t-n}$ (this assumes average returns 0 etc etc. More general versions can be derived)

4

You can obtain the covariance between 2 portfolios by multiplying the row vector, containing the weights of portfolio A with the variance-covariance matrix of the assets and then multiplying with the column vector, containing the weights of assets in portfolio B. Equally you can set up a new portfolio A+B by creating a new column vector that contains the ...

4

If $\Sigma$ is the covariance matrix of all assets and $w$ is the column vector of weightings of the asset in a certain portfolio. Then $$w^T \Sigma w = VAR$$ is the variance of the portfolio. The contribution to volatility of asset $i$ is given by $$w_i (\Sigma w)_i/\sqrt{VAR},$$ where $(\Sigma w)_i$ is the $i_{th}$ entry in the vector $\Sigma w$. Note ...

3

Any explanations? Yes. Within each asset category we find that stocks may be: Unattractively underperforming the category norm Attractive as they meet the expected norm Unsustainable as their returns exceed the category norm and may suffer mean reversion By focusing on low variance, we exclude type (3) stocks that damage portfolio performance through ...

3

For the stationary multivariate normal case, the expected returns vector does not matter. This is because the cross-sectional mean is subtracted out before calculating the standard deviation. The cross-sectional mean can be more conveniently thought of as like the return on an equally weighted portfolio. Similarly, I would argue that the expected ...

3

1) Calculate exponential averages (EMA) for time series A & B. 2) Calculate exponential standard deviations for A & B. My little hack for this is to calculate an EMA of squared returns, then subtract the squared EMA of simple returns, then take the square root of this. sqrt( ema(return^2) - ema(return)^2 ) 3) Apply the same concept to calculating ...

3

I tested both procedures. The results are virtually indistinguishable - the decision is not consequential. I opted for approach #1.

3

It sounds like you are referring to measuring correlation and/or cointegration. May I suggest you take a look at another question with several answers. I believe it may include an answer to yours as well...

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