(Re-)Imag(in)ing Price Trends
66 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2021 Last revised: 6 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 1, 2020
We reconsider the idea of trend-based predictability using methods that flexibly learn price patterns that are most predictive of future returns, rather than testing hypothesized or pre-specified patterns (e.g., momentum and reversal). Our raw predictor data are images—stock-level price charts—from which we elicit the price patterns that best predict returns using machine learning image analysis methods. The predictive patterns we identify are largely distinct from trend signals commonly analyzed in the literature, give more accurate return predictions, translate into more profitable investment strategies, and are robust to a battery of specification variations. They also appear context-independent: Predictive patterns estimated at short time scales (e.g., daily data) give similarly strong predictions when applied at longer time scales (e.g., monthly), and patterns learned from US stocks predict equally well in international markets.
Keywords: convolutional neural network (CNN), image classification, transfer learning, machine learning, technical analysis, return prediction
JEL Classification: G10, G11, G12, G14, G15
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