Purdue University Graduate School
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Quantitative Methods of Statistical Arbitrage

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posted on 2024-04-22, 14:58 authored by Boming NingBoming Ning

Statistical arbitrage is a prevalent trading strategy which takes advantage of mean reverse property of spreads constructed from pairs or portfolios of assets. Utilizing statistical models and algorithms, statistical arbitrage exploits and capitalizes on the pricing inefficiencies between securities or within asset portfolios.

In chapter 2, We propose a framework for constructing diversified portfolios with multiple pairs trading strategies. In our approach, several pairs of co-moving assets are traded simultaneously, and capital is dynamically allocated among different pairs based on the statistical characteristics of the historical spreads. This allows us to further consider various portfolio designs and rebalancing strategies. Working with empirical data, our experiments suggest the significant benefits of diversification within our proposed framework.

In chapter 3, we explore an optimal timing strategy for the trading of price spreads exhibiting mean-reverting characteristics. A sequential optimal stopping framework is formulated to analyze the optimal timings for both entering and subsequently liquidating positions, all while considering the impact of transaction costs. Then we leverages a refined signature optimal stopping method to resolve this sequential optimal stopping problem, thereby unveiling the precise entry and exit timings that maximize gains. Our framework operates without any predefined assumptions regarding the dynamics of the underlying mean-reverting spreads, offering adaptability to diverse scenarios. Numerical results are provided to demonstrate its superior performance when comparing with conventional mean reversion trading rules.

In chapter 4, we introduce an innovative model-free and reinforcement learning based framework for statistical arbitrage. For the construction of mean reversion spreads, we establish an empirical reversion time metric and optimize asset coefficients by minimizing this empirical mean reversion time. In the trading phase, we employ a reinforcement learning framework to identify the optimal mean reversion strategy. Diverging from traditional mean reversion strategies that primarily focus on price deviations from a long-term mean, our methodology creatively constructs the state space to encapsulate the recent trends in price movements. Additionally, the reward function is carefully tailored to reflect the unique characteristics of mean reversion trading.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Statistics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Kiseop Lee

Additional Committee Member 2

Jianxi Su

Additional Committee Member 3

Mengyi Xu

Additional Committee Member 4

Nianqiao Ju