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Energy, entropy, and arbitrage

  • Soumik Pal
  • Ting-Kam Leonard Wong
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    We introduce a framework to analyze the relative performance of a portfolio with respect to a benchmark market index. We show that this relative performance has three components: a term that can be interpreted as energy coming from the market fluctuations, a relative entropy term that measures "distance" between the portfolio holdings and the market capital distribution, and another entropy term that can be controlled by the trader by choosing a suitable strategy. The first aids growth in the portfolio value, and the second poses as relative risk of being too far from the market. We give several explicit controls of the third term that allows one to outperform a diverse volatile market in the long run. Named energy-entropy portfolios, these strategies work in both discrete and continuous time, and require essentially no probabilistic or structural assumptions. They are well-suited to analyze a hierarchical portfolio of portfolios and attribute relative risk and reward to different levels of the hierarchy. We also consider functionally generated portfolios (introduced by Fernholz) in the case of two assets and the binary tree model and give a novel explanation of their efficacy.

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    Paper provided by in its series Papers with number 1308.5376.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1308.5376
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    1. Thomas M. Cover, 1991. "Universal Portfolios," Mathematical Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 1-29.
    2. Robert Fernholz & Ioannis Karatzas, 2005. "Relative arbitrage in volatility-stabilized markets," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-177, November.
    3. Eckhard Platen & Renata Rendek, 2010. "Approximating the Numeraire Portfolio by Naive Diversification," Research Paper Series 281, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
    4. Daniel Kuhn & David Luenberger, 2010. "Analysis of the rebalancing frequency in log-optimal portfolio selection," Quantitative Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 221-234.
    5. Robert Fernholz & Ioannis Karatzas & Constantinos Kardaras, 2005. "Diversity and relative arbitrage in equity markets," Finance and Stochastics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, January.
    6. Fernholz, Robert & Shay, Brian, 1982. " Stochastic Portfolio Theory and Stock Market Equilibrium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 37(2), pages 615-24, May.
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