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Predicting Daily Probability Distributions Of S&P500 Returns

Authors: Weigend, Andreas S.
Shi, Shanming
Keywords: Forecasting;Density Prediction;Conditional Distribution;Mixture Models;Time Series Analysis;Hidden Markov Models;Gated Experts;Hidden Markov Experts;Model Comparison;Density Evaluation;Computational Finance;Risk Management
Issue Date: Aug-1998
Publisher: Stern School of Business, New York University
Series/Report no.: IS-98-23
Abstract: Most approaches in forecasting merely try to predict the next value of the time series. In contrast, this paper presents a framework to predict the full probability distribution. It is expressed as a mixture model: the dynamics of the individual states is modeled with so-called "experts" (potentially nonlinear neural networks), and the dynamics between the states is modeled using a hidden Markov approach. The full density predictions are obtained by a weighted superposition of the individual densities of each expert. This model class is called "hidden Markov experts". Results are presented for daily S&P500 data. While the predictive accuracy of the mean does not improve over simpler models, evaluating the prediction of the full density shows a clear out-of-sample improvement both over a simple GARCH(1,l) model (which assumes Gaussian distributed returns) and over a "gated experts" model (which expresses the weighting for each state non-recursively as a function of external inputs). Several interpretations are given: the blending of supervised and unsupervised learning, the discovery of hidden states, the combination of forecasts, the specialization of experts, the removal of outliers, and the persistence of volatility.
Appears in Collections:IOMS: Information Systems Working Papers

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