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A closed-form solution for optimal mean-reverting trading strategies

Alexander Lipton and Marcos Lopez de Prado

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Abstract: When prices reflect all available information, they oscillate around an equilibrium level. This oscillation is the result of the temporary market impact caused by waves of buyers and sellers. This price behavior can be approximated through an Ornstein-Uhlenbeck (O-U) process. Market makers provide liquidity in an attempt to monetize this oscillation. They enter a long position when a security is priced below its estimated equilibrium level, and they enter a short position when a security is priced above its estimated equilibrium level. They hold that position until one of three outcomes occur: (1) they achieve the targeted profit; (2) they experience a maximum tolerated loss; (3) the position is held beyond a maximum tolerated horizon. All market makers are confronted with the problem of defining profit-taking and stop-out levels. More generally, all execution traders acting on behalf of a client must determine at what levels an order must be fulfilled. Those optimal levels can be determined by maximizing the trader's Sharpe ratio in the context of O-U processes via Monte Carlo experiments. This paper develops an analytical framework and derives those optimal levels by using the method of heat potentials.

Date: 2020-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mst
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