Casgrain, Philippe, Jaimungal, Sebastian

Alpha signals for statistical arbitrage strategies are often driven by latent factors. This paper analyses how to optimally trade with latent factors that cause prices to jump and diffuse. Moreover, we account for the effect of the trader's actions on quoted prices and the prices they receive from trading. Under fairly general assumptions, we demonstrate how the trader can learn the posterior distribution over the latent states, and explicitly solve the latent optimal trading problem. We provide a verification theorem, and a methodology for calibrating the model by deriving a variation of the expectation-maximization algorithm. To illustrate the efficacy of the optimal strategy, we demonstrate its performance through simulations and compare it to strategies which ignore learning in the latent factors. We also provide calibration results for a particular model using Intel Corporation stock as an example.

Wang, Baiyang (Northwestern University) | Klabjan, Diego (Northwestern University)

We consider the problem of modeling temporal textual data taking endogenous and exogenous processes into account. Such text documents arise in real world applications, including job advertisements and economic news articles, which are influenced by the fluctuations of the general economy. We propose a hierarchical Bayesian topic model which imposes a "group-correlated" hierarchical structure on the evolution of topics over time incorporating both processes, and show that this model can be estimated from Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling methods. We further demonstrate that this model captures the intrinsic relationships between the topic distribution and the time-dependent factors, and compare its performance with latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) and two other related models. The model is applied to two collections of documents to illustrate its empirical performance: online job advertisements from DirectEmployers Association and journalists' postings on BusinessInsider.com.

Gao, Gelin, Mishra, Bud, Ramazzotti, Daniele

The most recent financial upheavals have cast doubt on the adequacy of some of the conventional quantitative risk management strategies, such as VaR (Value at Risk), in many common situations. Consequently, there has been an increasing need for verisimilar financial stress testings, namely simulating and analyzing financial portfolios in extreme, albeit rare scenarios. Unlike conventional risk management which exploits statistical correlations among financial instruments, here we focus our analysis on the notion of probabilistic causation, which is embodied by Suppes-Bayes Causal Networks (SBCNs); SBCNs are probabilistic graphical models that have many attractive features in terms of more accurate causal analysis for generating financial stress scenarios. In this paper, we present a novel approach for conducting stress testing of financial portfolios based on SBCNs in combination with classical machine learning classification tools. The resulting method is shown to be capable of correctly discovering the causal relationships among financial factors that affect the portfolios and thus, simulating stress testing scenarios with a higher accuracy and lower computational complexity than conventional Monte Carlo Simulations.

Pfeuffer, Julianus, Serang, Oliver

Max-convolution is an important problem closely resembling standard convolution; as such, max-convolution occurs frequently across many fields. Here we extend the method with fastest known worst-case runtime, which can be applied to nonnegative vectors by numerically approximating the Chebyshev norm $\| \cdot \|_\infty$, and use this approach to derive two numerically stable methods based on the idea of computing $p$-norms via fast convolution: The first method proposed, with runtime in $O( k \log(k) \log(\log(k)) )$ (which is less than $18 k \log(k)$ for any vectors that can be practically realized), uses the $p$-norm as a direct approximation of the Chebyshev norm. The second approach proposed, with runtime in $O( k \log(k) )$ (although in practice both perform similarly), uses a novel null space projection method, which extracts information from a sequence of $p$-norms to estimate the maximum value in the vector (this is equivalent to querying a small number of moments from a distribution of bounded support in order to estimate the maximum). The $p$-norm approaches are compared to one another and are shown to compute an approximation of the Viterbi path in a hidden Markov model where the transition matrix is a Toeplitz matrix; the runtime of approximating the Viterbi path is thus reduced from $O( n k^2 )$ steps to $O( n $k \log(k))$ steps in practice, and is demonstrated by inferring the U.S. unemployment rate from the S&P 500 stock index.

Durante, Daniele, Scarpa, Bruno, Dunson, David B.

In modeling multivariate time series, it is important to allow time-varying smoothness in the mean and covariance process. In particular, there may be certain time intervals exhibiting rapid changes and others in which changes are slow. If such time-varying smoothness is not accounted for, one can obtain misleading inferences and predictions, with over-smoothing across erratic time intervals and under-smoothing across times exhibiting slow variation. This can lead to mis-calibration of predictive intervals, which can be substantially too narrow or wide depending on the time. We propose a locally adaptive factor process for characterizing multivariate mean-covariance changes in continuous time, allowing locally varying smoothness in both the mean and covariance matrix. This process is constructed utilizing latent dictionary functions evolving in time through nested Gaussian processes and linearly related to the observed data with a sparse mapping. Using a differential equation representation, we bypass usual computational bottlenecks in obtaining MCMC and online algorithms for approximate Bayesian inference. The performance is assessed in simulations and illustrated in a financial application.