Pairs Trading Advantages and Disadvantages of Pairs Trading

posted in: Forex Trading | 0
Rate this post

Pairs trading is a trading strategy that is based on the assumption that the highly correlated securities will come back to their neutral position after any divergence. This strategy can be incorporated into any kind of trading and in any market such as stocks, forex etc. Pairs trading strategy helps the trader to get good returns regardless of the conditions of the market. Hence, in the pair trading strategy, the traders earn good returns since the trader takes the opportunity when one of the stocks’ price deviates from the mean.

  1. Likewise, they must be mindful of the pair’s price action and constantly adjust the risk/return profile of the trade.
  2. Customers
    must also be aware of, and prepared to comply with, the margin rules applicable to day trading.
  3. We can’t guarantee that the Sharpe ratio achieved can be replicated if we travel back in time.
  4. Therefore, pairs trading involves choosing two securities that belong to the company having the same industry or are direct competitors.
  5. Given a normal distribution of raw data points, the z-score is calculated so that the new distribution is a normal distribution with a mean of 0 and a standard deviation of 1.
  6. The algorithm monitors for deviations in price, automatically buying and selling to capitalize on market inefficiencies.

No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the above information. Two markets with no correlation are like two dogs running barclays trade around together in a park. They are both wandering around, but they are both independent so there is no meaningful connection to their movements.

Interactive Brokers Live Algo Trading with QuantConnect

The pair’s price ratio – the price of one share divided by the other – must be determined, giving the trader a midpoint that he can chart. Whatever the price ratio is, the trader must watch the market as it moves to see what it tends to do when it reaches the midpoint of the pair. It indicates which security the trader should sell short and which security the trader should buy, and when. An intra-sector pairs trade can involve two stocks in a particular sector like technology, health care, or energy, where correlations are often high. Let’s consider two hypothetical large oil companies, MNKY and XYZ.

The variety of methods range in complexity and choice of assets – this sets an entirely new stage for statistical arbitrage to shine in the current financial world. On August 20 the ratio signals that the two stocks are now starting to trade in tandem again. On this date, one share of Tesla is worth $288.20 while one share of GM is worth $36.36.


For starters, if a series was mean reverting in the past, it may not be mean reverting in the future. Constructed spreads typically mean revert when random, non-structural events affect the value of the components. A good spread combined with a good trading strategy will capture these small opportunities for profit consistently. On the other hand, when a structural shift occurs – such as a major revaluation of one asset but not the other – such a strategy will usually get burned quite badly. Some price series are mean reverting some of the time, but it is also possible to create portfolios which are specifically constructed to have mean-reverting properties.

Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success. Futures and futures options trading services provided by Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type. The machine learning approach is characterized by utilizing the techniques used in different approaches in combination with machine learning algorithms and applying them to strategy creation process. Another extremely popular approach outlined by Vidyamurthy 2004, is the cointegration approach.

70% of retail client accounts lose money when trading CFDs, with this investment provider. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. You should consider whether you understand how this product works, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. To identify this, the trader can use Bollinger Bands, which are indicators that contain upper and lower bands that are two standard deviations from the ratio’s price. When the ratio hits the top or bottom Bollinger band then a trading opportunity is created. A trade that sees profits of £1000 on one day, but then the second day sees that fall to £500 has a drawdown of £500.

Understanding Pairs Trade

Keep in mind, the risk of loss on a short sale is potentially unlimited. Option traders use calls and puts to hedge risks and exploit volatility (or the lack thereof). A call is a commitment by the writer to sell shares of a stock at a given price sometime in the future. A put is a commitment by the writer to buy shares at a given price sometime in the future. As the two underlying positions revert to their mean again, the options become worthless allowing the trader to pocket the proceeds from one or both of the positions.

These are important details that could turn your winning idea into a poorly managed, losing trade. The beauty of pairs trading is that it can be utilised by both fundamental investors and technical analysts. Statistical arbitrage and pairs trading tries to solve this problem using price relativity. If two assets share the same characteristics and risk exposures, then we can assume that their behavior would be similar as well. This has the benefit of not having to estimate the intrinsic value of an asset but rather just if it is under or overvalued relative to a peer(s). We only have to focus on the relationship between the two, and if the spread happens to widen, it could be that one of the securities is overpriced, the other is underpriced, or the mispricing is a combination of both.

Also, a stationary time series means that the pair of stocks is co-integrated and can be traded together by generating trading signals. Hence, stocks are needed to be selected for performing the pairs trading. Thus, one should be careful of using only correlation for determining the pairs of the stocks while performing the pairs trading strategy. Predicting the breakdown of a spread is very difficult, but a sensible way to reduce the risk of this approach is to trade a diverse range of spreads. As with other types of trading, diversity tends to be your friend.

The ratio shows that the share price of TSLA is 8 times more expensive than the share price of GM. There can be many ways of defining take profits depending on your risk appetite and backtesting results. Stop loss is defined for scenarios when the expected outcome does not occur. For instance, if we chose entry signals at 2-sigma, we are expecting that the spread will revert back to the mean from this threshold.

Pairs trading strategy demands good position sizing, market timing, and decision making skill. Although the strategy does not have much downside risk, there is a scarcity of opportunities, and, for profiting, the trader must be one of the first to capitalize on the opportunity. The higher the value, the stronger the positive correlation, with two markets moving in the same direction for a large amount of time. A negative reading indicates that the two markets are moving negatively, in the opposite direction, while a reading of 0 shows that there is no correlation in the price movement of the two markets. Below is a weekly chart of the price ratio between Ford and GM (calculated by dividing Ford’s stock price by GM’s stock price).

Explore the markets with our free course

The aim of pairs trading is to bet that, if the prices of 2 assets diverge, they will converge eventually. In practice, you’ll find that dealing with a changing hedge ratio is more an issue than the statistical significance of the Johansen test. The Cointegrated Augmented Dickey Fuller (CADF) test finds a hedge ratio by running a linear regression between two series, forms a spread using that hedge ratio, then tests the stationarity of that spread. In the following examples, we use some R code that runs a linear regression between the price series of Exxon Mobil and Chevron to find a hedge ratio and then tests the resulting spread for stationarity. Day trading is subject to significant risks and is not suitable
for all investors. Any active trading strategy will result in higher trading costs than a strategy that involves
fewer transactions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *