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Which Pairs of Stocks should we Trade? Selection of Pairs for Statistical Arbitrage and Pairs Trading in Karachi Stock Exchange


  • Laila Taskeen Qazi

    (Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar.)

  • Atta Ur Rahman

    (Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar.)

  • Saleem Gul

    (Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar.)


Pairs Trading refers to a statistical arbitrage approach devised to take advantage from short term fluctuations simultaneously depicted by two stocks from long run equilibrium position. In this study a technique has been designed for the selection of pairs for pairs trading strategy. Engle-Granger 2-step Cointegration approach has been applied for identifying the trading pairs. The data employed in this study comprised of daily stock prices of Commercial Banks and Financial Services Sector. Restricted pairs have been formed out of highly liquid log share price series of 22 Commercial Banks and 19 Financial Services companies listed on Karachi Stock Exchange. Sample time period extended from November 2, 2009 to June 28, 2013 having total 911 observations for each share prices series incorporated in the study. Out of 231 pairs of commercial banks 25 were found cointegrated whereas 40 cointegrated pairs were identified among 156 pairs formed in Financial Services Sector. Furthermore a Cointegration relationship was estimated by regressing one stock price series on another, whereas the order of regression is accessed through Granger Causality Test. The mean reverting residual of Cointegration regression is modeled through the Vector Error Correction Model in order to assess the speed of adjustment coefficient for the statistical arbitrage opportunity. The findings of the study depict that the cointegrated stocks can be combined linearly in a long/short portfolio having stationary dynamics. Although for the given strategy profitability has not been assessed in this study yet the VECM results for residual series show significant deviations around the mean which identify the statistical arbitrage opportunity and ensure profitability of the pairs trading strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Laila Taskeen Qazi & Atta Ur Rahman & Saleem Gul, 2015. "Which Pairs of Stocks should we Trade? Selection of Pairs for Statistical Arbitrage and Pairs Trading in Karachi Stock Exchange," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 54(3), pages 215-244.
  • Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:54:y:2015:i:3:p:215-244

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fabio Pizzutilo, 2013. "A Note on the Effectiveness of Pairs Trading For Individual Investors," International Journal of Economics and Financial Issues, Econjournals, vol. 3(3), pages 763-771.
    2. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
    3. Robert Elliott & John Van Der Hoek & William Malcolm, 2005. "Pairs trading," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 271-276.
    4. Andrew W. Lo, A. Craig MacKinlay, 1988. "Stock Market Prices do not Follow Random Walks: Evidence from a Simple Specification Test," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(1), pages 41-66.
    5. Masaki Mori & Alan J. Ziobrowski, 2011. "Performance of Pairs Trading Strategy in the U.S. REIT Market," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 39(3), pages 409-428, September.
    6. Evan Gatev & William N. Goetzmann & K. Geert Rouwenhorst, 2006. "Pairs Trading: Performance of a Relative-Value Arbitrage Rule," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 797-827.
    7. Broussard, John Paul & Vaihekoski, Mika, 2012. "Profitability of pairs trading strategy in an illiquid market with multiple share classes," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 1188-1201.
    8. João Frois Caldeira & Gulherme Valle Moura, 2013. "Selection of a Portfolio of Pairs Based on Cointegration: A Statistical Arbitrage Strategy," Brazilian Review of Finance, Brazilian Society of Finance, vol. 11(1), pages 49-80.
    9. Huck, Nicolas, 2009. "Pairs selection and outranking: An application to the S&P 100 index," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 196(2), pages 819-825, July.
    10. Perlin, M., 2007. "Evaluation of pairs trading strategy at the Brazilian financial market," MPRA Paper 8308, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Nicolas Huck, 2013. "The high sensitivity of pairs trading returns," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(14), pages 1301-1304, September.
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    More about this item


    Pairs Trading; Statistical Arbitrage; Engle-Granger 2-step Cointegration Approach; VECM.;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • G17 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Financial Forecasting and Simulation


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