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Robust estimation of covariance and its application to portfolio optimization

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  • Huo, Lijuan
  • Kim, Tae-Hwan
  • Kim, Yunmi

Abstract

Outliers can have a considerable influence on the conventional measure of covariance, which may lead to a misleading understanding of the comovement between two variables. Both an analytical derivation and Monte Carlo simulations show that the conventional measure of covariance can be heavily influenced in the presence of outliers. This paper proposes an intuitively appealing and easily computable robust measure of covariance based on the median and compares it with some existing robust covariance estimators in the statistics literature. It is demonstrated by simulations that all of the robust measures are fairly stable and insensitive to outliers. We apply robust covariance measures to construct two well-known portfolios, the minimum-variance portfolio and the optimal risky portfolio. The results of an out-of-sample experiment indicate that a potentially large investment gain can be realized using robust measures in place of the conventional measure.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Finance Research Letters.

Volume (Year): 9 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 121-134

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Handle: RePEc:eee:finlet:v:9:y:2012:i:3:p:121-134

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/frl

Related research

Keywords: Covariance; Robust estimation; Median;

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References

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  1. Campbell, B. & Dufour, J.M., 1994. "Excat Nonparametric Tests of Orthogonality and Random Walk in the Presence of a Drift Parameter," Cahiers de recherche 9407, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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  3. Beine, Michel & Cosma, Antonio & Vermeulen, Robert, 2010. "The dark side of global integration: Increasing tail dependence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 184-192, January.
  4. Esa Ollila & Hannu Oja & Thomas P. Hettmansperger, 2002. "Estimates of regression coefficients based on the sign covariance matrix," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 64(3), pages 447-466.
  5. White, Halbert & Kim, Tae-Hwan & Manganelli, Simone, 2008. "Modeling autoregressive conditional skewness and kurtosis with multi-quantile CAViaR," Working Paper Series 0957, European Central Bank.
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  7. Best, Michael J & Grauer, Robert R, 1991. "On the Sensitivity of Mean-Variance-Efficient Portfolios to Changes in Asset Means: Some Analytical and Computational Results," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 4(2), pages 315-42.
  8. Bonato, Matteo, 2011. "Robust estimation of skewness and kurtosis in distributions with infinite higher moments," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 77-87, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Galvani, Valentina & Gubellini, Stefano, 2013. "Mean–variance dominant trading strategies," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 142-150.
  2. Dimitrios D. Thomakos & Fotis Papailias, 2013. "Covariance Averaging for Improved Estimation and Portfolio Allocation," Working Paper Series 66_13, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.

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