Correlation As Probability: Applications of Sheppard’s Formula to Financial Assets
19 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2018
Date Written: July 27, 2017
In this paper, a result for bivariate normal distributions (Sheppard, 1899) from statistics is transformed into a financial asset context in order to build a tool which could translate a correlation matrix into an equivalent probability matrix and vice versa. This way, the correlation coefficient parameter is more understandable in terms of joint probability of two stocks' returns, and much more useful in terms of the information it provides. We validate, empirically, our result for a sample covering the three market capitalization categories in the S&P 500 index over a ten-year period. Finally, the accuracy of this new tool is measured theoretically and some applications from the practitioners’ point of view are offered. Such applications include, for instance, the calculation of the number of trading days in a year of two stocks with the same sign of returns and how to split the average return of weighted stocks into four orthants.
Keywords: Correlation; Stock Returns; Joint Probability; Bivariate Normal Distribution
JEL Classification: G10; G110; G170
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