Quant analytics: PCA for alpha generation

(Last Updated On: May 24, 2012)
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Quant analytics: PCA for alpha generation

I am curious if anyone has had success applying principal component analysis in the context of alpha generation (and not in the context of risk, as PCA is typically applied). For instance, I like the straightforward “absorption ratio” introduced by Kritzman, et al. here:


I suspect that tracking the evolution of portfolio risk concentration may yield forward-looking clues on the portfolio’s performance. For instance, perhaps a factor mimicking portfolio may lose efficacy if its risk becomes highly concentrated during the life of the trade (in this hypothetical context, the “absorption ratio” is used as a timing parameter for factor rotation).

As an aside, outside of alpha generation, I think any “real-time” systemic risk metrics are highly relevant in today’s market. Particularly in the US equity space, where investors have enjoyed a respite (of sorts) from macro-driven Eurozone news since mid-Dec (coinciding with the ECB’s 3-yr LTRO announcement). The abrupt declines over the last hour of trading on May 22 (purportedly driven by comments from the former Greece PM regarding the country’s potential exit from the euro) is a sharp reminder to me just how quickly the market can switch back to the high correlation environments of 2H11. Monitoring systematic risk may give active investors sufficient time to adjust their level of activeness/leverage in open positions.


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About caustic

Hi i there My name is Bryan Downing. I am part of a company called QuantLabs.Net This is specifically a company with a high profile blog about technology, trading, financial, investment, quant, etc. It posts things on how to do job interviews with large companies like Morgan Stanley, Bloomberg, Citibank, and IBM. It also posts different unique tips and tricks on Java, C++, or C programming. It posts about different techniques in learning about Matlab and building models or strategies. There is a lot here if you are into venturing into the financial world like quant or technical analysis. It also discusses the future generation of trading and programming Specialties: C++, Java, C#, Matlab, quant, models, strategies, technical analysis, linux, windows P.S. I have been known to be the worst typist. Do not be offended by it as I like to bang stuff out and put priorty of what I do over typing. Maybe one day I can get a full time copy editor to help out. Do note I prefer videos as they are much easier to produce so check out my many video at youtube.com/quantlabs