By Irene Aldridge Many ETF and active portfolio managers need accurate end-of-day price direction forecasts to optimally execute their daily portfolio reallocation requirements. Predicting the end-of-day direction of the price is crucial to solidify performance, as the last half-hour is known to be marked by extreme volatility. The end-of-day volatility, if met on the wrong side of the price movement, may reduce the performance gains of even the most seasoned and talented portfolio managers to rubble. The main challenge with predicting market direction at the close of the day is to estimate the objectives and motivation of market participants. To simplify, most market participants inRead More →

By Irene Aldridge The last two weeks witnessed a somewhat forgotten phenomenon — a market headed south at a rapid pace for several consecutive days. Unlike flash crashes, brief spikes of downward volatility that can be predictable (see Aldridge, I., “High-Frequency Runs and Flash Crash Predictability”, Journal of Portfolio Management, 2014, and AbleMarkets Streaming Flash Crash Index), the sell-off of the past two weeks was methodical, slow and painful. AbleMarkets, a Big Data platform for finance, tracks institutional activity by pinpointing electronic algorithms used to break up large orders throughout the day. AbleMarkets uses the most granular tick-level data from exchanges to identify market microstructure footprints of institutionsRead More →

By Irene Aldridge Selling volatility has been a popular trading strategy among hedge funds over the past couple of years. At the core of the strategy’s popularity is the observation that volatility becomes considerably more severe when the markets are moving down rather than when they are rising up (see, for example, “The Cross-Section of Volatility and Expected Returns” by Ang, Hodrick, Xing and Zhang, Journal of Finance, 2005). In other words, selling volatility is a complicated way of betting on the rise of the market. During the current administration’s tenure, the U.S. markets have consistently risen, while dampening volatility in the process and generating excitement amongRead More →