I am trying to learn about pairs trading strategy. I know that we have to long and short cointegrated assests simultaneously. But I still have some confusion in how the strategy works. I wrote the pseudo code for what I think pairs trading strategy is?

x=price data of asset x
y=price data of asset y
if x and y are correlated and cointegrated

 calculate pair ratio(spread) x/y or y/x?
 calculate average of pair ratio(spread)

     if spread > mean
     sell asset ?
     buy asset ?
     else spread < mean
     sell asset ?
     buy asset ?
     close if


 find new pair of assets x and y
 go to line 1 with new x and y

close if

Here I am taking pair ratio(x/y or y/x) as the spread? My first question is which pair ratio should I take x/y or y/x?

if I take x/y as spread then what assests should I buy and sell if spread>mean.

If I am wrong in my assesment of pseudo code of pair trading then feel free to correct me.


The following link has a good summary of a typical pair trading strategy:


It actually has full python code as well. It doesn't include a cointegration check though.


if X and Y are cointegrated:
    calculate Beta between X and Y 
    calculate spread as X - Beta * Y
    calculate z-score of spread

    # entering trade (spread is away from mean by two sigmas):
    if z-score > 2:
        sell spread (sell 1000 of X, buy 1000 * Beta of Y)
    if z-score < -2:
        buy spread (buy 1000 of X, sell 1000 * Beta of Y)

    # exiting trade (spread converged close to mean):
    if we're short spread and z-score < 1:
        close the trades
    if we're long spread and z-score > -1:
        close the trades

# repeat above on each new bar, recalculating rolling Beta and spread etc.
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It would be very helpful and easy to understand;if you can convert the logic into a pseudo code $\endgroup$
    – Eka
    Jul 13 '16 at 6:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ added pseudo code $\endgroup$
    – KarolisR
    Jul 13 '16 at 9:31

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