PCA for Implied Volatility Surfaces

Principal component analysis (PCA) is a statistical procedure that uses an orthogonal transformation to convert a set of observations of possibly correlated variables into a set of values of linearly‧‧‧

Principal component analysis (PCA) is a statistical procedure that uses an orthogonal transformation to convert a set of observations of possibly correlated variables into a set of values of linearly uncorrelated variables called principal components. This transformation is defined in such a way that the first principal component has the largest possible variance (that is, accounts for as much of the variability in the data as possible), and each succeeding component in turn has the highest variance possible under the constraint that it is orthogonal to the preceding components. The resulting vectors (each being a linear combination of the variables and containing n observations) are an uncorrelated orthogonal basis set. PCA is sensitive to the relative scaling of the original variables.

Principal component analysis (PCA) is a useful tool when trying to construct factor models from historical asset returns. For the implied volatilities of U.S. equities there is a PCA-based model with a principal eigenportfolio whose return time series lies close to that of an overarching market factor. The authors (M. Avellaneda∗, B. Healy†, A. Papanicolaou‡ and G. Papanicolaou) of this interesting paper show that this market factor is the index resulting from the daily compounding of a weighted average of implied- volatility returns, with weights based on the options’ open interest (OI) and Vega. The authors also analyze the singular vectors derived from the tensor structure of the implied volatilities of S&P500 constituents, and find evidence indicating that some type of OI and Vega-weighted index should be one of at least two significant factors in this market.


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