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Pairs Trading: Performance of a Relative-Value Arbitrage Rule

  • Evan Gatev
  • William N. Goetzmann
  • K. Geert Rouwenhorst

We test a Wall Street investment strategy, "pairs trading," with daily data over 1962--2002. Stocks are matched into pairs with minimum distance between normalized historical prices. A simple trading rule yields average annualized excess returns of up to 11% for self-financing portfolios of pairs. The profits typically exceed conservative transaction-cost estimates. Bootstrap results suggest that the "pairs" effect differs from previously documented reversal profits. Robustness of the excess returns indicates that pairs trading profits from temporary mispricing of close substitutes. We link the profitability to the presence of a common factor in the returns, different from conventional risk measures. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/rfs/hhj020
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Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal The Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 19 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 797-827

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:19:y:2006:i:3:p:797-827
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  1. Jegadeesh, Narasimhan & Titman, Sheridan, 1993. " Returns to Buying Winners and Selling Losers: Implications for Stock Market Efficiency," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 65-91, March.
  2. Petersen, Mitchell A. & Fialkowski, David, 1994. "Posted versus effective spreads *1: Good prices or bad quotes?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 269-292, June.
  3. Mark J Ready, 2002. "Profits from Technical Trading Rules," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 31(3), Fall.
  4. Charles M. C. Lee & James Myers & Bhaskaran Swaminathan, 1999. "What is the Intrinsic Value of the Dow?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(5), pages 1693-1741, October.
  5. Brock, William & Lakonishok, Josef & LeBaron, Blake, 1992. " Simple Technical Trading Rules and the Stochastic Properties of Stock Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(5), pages 1731-64, December.
  6. Bossaerts, Peter, 1988. "Common nonstationary components of asset prices," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 347-364.
  7. Chen, Zhiwu & Knez, Peter J, 1995. "Measurement of Market Integration and Arbitrage," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 8(2), pages 287-325.
  8. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1996. " Multifactor Explanations of Asset Pricing Anomalies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(1), pages 55-84, March.
  9. KENT D. DANIEL & David Hirshleifer & AVANIDHAR SUBRAHMANYAM, 2004. "A Theory of Overconfidence, Self-Attribution, and Security Market Under- and Over-reactions," Finance 0412006, EconWPA.
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