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Liquidity in the Futures Pits: Inferring Market Dynamics from Incomplete Data

58 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2008  

Joel Hasbrouck

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 1998


Motivated by economic models of sequential trade, empirical analyses of market dynamics in the U.S. equities market frequently estimate liquidity from regressions of price changes on transaction volumes, where the latter are signed (positive for buyer-initiated trades; negative for seller-initiated trades). This paper estimates these specification for transaction data from pit trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. To deal with the absence of timely bid and ask quotes (generally used to sign trades in the equity market studies); this paper proposes new techniques based on Markov chain Monte Carlo estimation. As in the corresponding equity market specifications, the model structure implies a decomposition for long-run price volatility into trade-and non-trade-related components. For the S&P contract, trades have a negligible contribution to volatility. Trades in the pork belly contact account for twenty percent of the (long-term) price volatility. Trades in the DM contract account for forty percent of the volatility. this last finding may indicate that although the futures market in the DM is dwarfed in volume by the interbank spot/forward market, the latter's relative lack of transparency causes significant price discover to occur in the futures market.

Suggested Citation

Hasbrouck, Joel, Liquidity in the Futures Pits: Inferring Market Dynamics from Incomplete Data (August 1998). NYU Working Paper No. FIN-98-076. Available at SSRN:

Joel Hasbrouck (Contact Author)

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