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Trading futures spread portfolios: applications of higher order and recurrent networks


  • Christian Dunis
  • Jason Laws
  • Ben Evans


This paper investigates the modelling and trading of oil futures spreads in the context of a portfolio of contracts. A portfolio of six spreads is constructed and each spread forecasted using a variety of modelling techniques, namely, a cointegration fair value model and three different types of neural network (NN), such as multi-layer perceptron (MLP), recurrent, and higher order NN models. In addition, a number of trading filters are employed to further improve the trading statistics of the models. Three different filters are optimized on an in-sample measure of down side risk-adjusted return, and these are then fixed out-of-sample. The filters employed are the threshold filter, correlation filter, and the transitive filter. The results show that the best in-sample model is the MLP with a transitive filter. This model is the best performer out-of-sample and also returns good out-of-sample statistics.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Dunis & Jason Laws & Ben Evans, 2008. "Trading futures spread portfolios: applications of higher order and recurrent networks," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(6), pages 503-521.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjfi:v:14:y:2008:i:6:p:503-521 DOI: 10.1080/13518470801890834

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zhao, Quanshui, 2001. "Asymptotically Efficient Median Regression In The Presence Of Heteroskedasticity Of Unknown Form," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(04), pages 765-784, August.
    2. Ma, Lingjie & Koenker, Roger, 2006. "Quantile regression methods for recursive structural equation models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 134(2), pages 471-506, October.
    3. Richard Blundell & James L. Powell, 2001. "Endogeneity in nonparametric and semiparametric regression models," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/01, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Michelle L. Barnes & Anthony W. Hughes, 2002. "A quantile regression analysis of the cross section of stock market returns," Working Papers 02-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. Koenker, Roger & Park, Beum J., 1996. "An interior point algorithm for nonlinear quantile regression," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1-2), pages 265-283.
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    Cited by:

    1. Krauss, Christopher, 2015. "Statistical arbitrage pairs trading strategies: Review and outlook," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 09/2015, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    2. Lubnau, Thorben & Todorova, Neda, 2015. "Trading on mean-reversion in energy futures markets," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 312-319.
    3. Erhard Reschenhofer & Werner Ploberger & Georg Lehecka, 2014. "Detecting fuzzy periodic patterns in futures spreads," Statistical Papers, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 487-496, May.
    4. Alexander, Carol & Prokopczuk, Marcel & Sumawong, Anannit, 2013. "The (de)merits of minimum-variance hedging: Application to the crack spread," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 698-707.


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