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A Comparison of Cointegration & Tracking Error Models for Mutual Funds & Hedge Funds


  • Carol Alexander

    () (ICMA Centre, University of Reading)

  • Anca Dimitriu

    () (ICMA Centre, University of Reading)


We present a detailed study of portfolio optimisation based on cointegration, a statistical tool that here exploits a long-run equilibrium relationship between stock prices and an index price. We compare the theoretical and empirical properties of cointegration optimal equity portfolios with those of portfolios optimised on the tracking error variance. From an eleven year out of sample performance analysis we find that for simple index tracking the additional feature of cointegration between the tracking portfolio and the index has no clear advantages or disadvantages relative to the tracking error variance (TEV) minimization model. However ensuring a cointegration relationship does pay off when the tracking task becomes more difficult. Cointegration optimal portfolios clearly dominate the TEV equivalents for all of the statistical arbitrage strategies based on enhanced indexation, in all market circumstances

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Alexander & Anca Dimitriu, 2004. "A Comparison of Cointegration & Tracking Error Models for Mutual Funds & Hedge Funds," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2004-03, Henley Business School, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:icmadp:icma-dp2004-03

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    Cited by:

    1. Roßbach, Peter & Karlow, Denis, 2011. "The stability of traditional measures of index tracking quality," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 164, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    2. Peña Sánchez de Rivera, Juan Ignacio & Mayordomo, Sergio & Romo, Juan, 2009. "Are There Arbitrage Opportunities in Credit Derivatives Markets? A New Test and an Application to the Case of CDS and ASPs," DEE - Working Papers. Business Economics. WB wb096303, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.

    More about this item


    cointegration; tracking error; index tracking; statistical arbitrage;

    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
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G23 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors


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