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The Distribution of Stock Return Volatility

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  • Torben G. Andersen
  • Tim Bollerslev
  • Francis X. Diebold
  • Heiko Ebens

Abstract

We exploit direct model-free measures of daily equity return volatility and correlation obtained from high-frequency intraday transaction prices on individual stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average over a five-year period to confirm, solidify and extend existing characterizations of stock return volatility and correlation. We find that the unconditional distributions of the variances and covariances for all thirty stocks are leptokurtic and highly skewed to the right, while the logarithmic standard deviations and correlations all appear approximately Gaussian. Moreover, the distributions of the returns scaled by the realized standard deviations are also Gaussian. Consistent with our documentation of remarkably precise scaling laws under temporal aggregation, the realized logarithmic standard deviations and correlations all show strong temporal dependence and appear to be well described by long-memory processes. Positive returns have less impact on future variances and correlations than negative returns of the same absolute magnitude, although the economic importance of this asymmetry is minor. Finally, there is strong evidence that equity volatilities and correlations move together, possibly reducing the benefits to portfolio diversification when the market is most volatile. Our findings are broadly consistent with a latent volatility fact or structure, and they set the stage for improved high-dimensional volatility modeling and out-of-sample forecasting, which in turn hold promise for the development of better decision making in practical situations of risk management, portfolio allocation, and asset pricing.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7933.

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Date of creation: Oct 2000
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Publication status: published as Andersen, Torben G., Tim Bollerslev, Francis X. Diebold and Heiko Ebens. "The Distribution Of Realized Stock Return Volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, 2001, v61(1,Jul), 43-76.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7933

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  1. Torben G. Andersen & Tim Bollerslev & Francis X. Diebold & Paul Labys, 2000. "Exchange Rate Returns Standardized by Realized Volatility are (Nearly) Gaussian," NBER Working Papers 7488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Y. Campbell, 2001. "Have Individual Stocks Become More Volatile? An Empirical Exploration of Idiosyncratic Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 1-43, 02.
  3. Bekaert, Geert & Wu, Guojun, 2000. "Asymmetric Volatility and Risk in Equity Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(1), pages 1-42.
  4. Bollerslev, Tim & Engle, Robert F. & Nelson, Daniel B., 1986. "Arch models," Handbook of Econometrics, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2959-3038 Elsevier.
  5. Torben Andersen & Tim Bollerslev & Francis X. Diebold & Paul Labys, 1999. "The Distribution of Exchange Rate Volatility," NBER Working Papers 6961, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andersen, Torben G & Bollerslev, Tim, 1997. " Heterogeneous Information Arrivals and Return Volatility Dynamics: Uncovering the Long-Run in High Frequency Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 975-1005, July.
  7. Torben G. Andersen & Tim Bollerslev & Francis X. Diebold & Heiko Ebens, 2000. "The Distribution of Stock Return Volatility," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 00-27, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Bollerslev, Tim & Chou, Ray Y. & Kroner, Kenneth F., 1992. "ARCH modeling in finance : A review of the theory and empirical evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1-2), pages 5-59.
  9. Christie, Andrew A., 1982. "The stochastic behavior of common stock variances : Value, leverage and interest rate effects," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 407-432, December.
  10. Clark, Peter K, 1973. "A Subordinated Stochastic Process Model with Finite Variance for Speculative Prices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(1), pages 135-55, January.
  11. Andersen, Torben G, 1996. " Return Volatility and Trading Volume: An Information Flow Interpretation of Stochastic Volatility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 169-204, March.
  12. Braun, Phillip A & Nelson, Daniel B & Sunier, Alain M, 1995. " Good News, Bad News, Volatility, and Betas," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1575-1603, December.
  13. Canina, Linda & Figlewski, Stephen, 1993. "The Informational Content of Implied Volatility," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 659-81.
  14. Christensen, B. J. & Prabhala, N. R., 1998. "The relation between implied and realized volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 125-150, November.
  15. Crato, Nuno & de Lima, Pedro J. F., 1994. "Long-range dependence in the conditional variance of stock returns," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 281-285.
  16. Blattberg, Robert C & Gonedes, Nicholas J, 1974. "A Comparison of the Stable and Student Distributions as Statistical Models for Stock Prices," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 244-80, April.
  17. Bollerslev, Tim & Ole Mikkelsen, Hans, 1999. "Long-term equity anticipation securities and stock market volatility dynamics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 75-99, September.
  18. Baillie, Richard T. & Bollerslev, Tim & Mikkelsen, Hans Ole, 1996. "Fractionally integrated generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 3-30, September.
  19. Andersen, Torben G & Bollerslev, Tim, 1998. "Answering the Skeptics: Yes, Standard Volatility Models Do Provide Accurate Forecasts," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(4), pages 885-905, November.
  20. Young-Hye Cho & Robert F. Engle, 1999. "Time-Varying Betas and Asymmetric Effect of News: Empirical Analysis of Blue Chip Stocks," NBER Working Papers 7330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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