Home > Portfolio Construction, R > More Principal Components Fun

## More Principal Components Fun

Today, I want to continue with the Principal Components theme and show how the Principal Component Analysis can be used to build portfolios that are not correlated to the market. Most of the content for this post is based on the excellent article, “Using PCA for spread trading” by Jev Kuznetsov.

Let’s start by loading the components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average index over last 5 years.

```###############################################################################
# Load Systematic Investor Toolbox (SIT)
# https://systematicinvestor.wordpress.com/systematic-investor-toolbox/
###############################################################################
setInternet2(TRUE)
con = gzcon(url('http://www.systematicportfolio.com/sit.gz', 'rb'))
source(con)
close(con)

#*****************************************************************
# Load historical data
#******************************************************************
tickers = dow.jones.components()

data <- new.env()
getSymbols(tickers, src = 'yahoo', from = '2009-01-01', env = data, auto.assign = T)
bt.prep(data, align='remove.na')
```

Next let’s compute the Principal Components based on the first year of price history.

```	#*****************************************************************
# Principal component analysis (PCA), for interesting discussion
# http://machine-master.blogspot.ca/2012/08/pca-or-polluting-your-clever-analysis.html
#******************************************************************
prices = last(data\$prices, 1000)
n = len(tickers)
ret = prices / mlag(prices) - 1

p = princomp(na.omit(ret[1:250,]))

# look at the first 4 principal components

# normalize all selected components to have total weight = 1
components = components / repRow(colSums(abs(components)), len(tickers))

# note that first component is market, and all components are orthogonal i.e. not correlated to market
market = ret[1:250,] %*% rep(1/n,n)
temp = cbind(market, ret[1:250,] %*% components)
colnames(temp)[1] = 'Market'

round(cor(temp, use='complete.obs',method='pearson'),2)

# the variance of each component is decreasing
round(100*sd(temp,na.rm=T),2)
```
```Correlation:
Market Comp.1 Comp.2 Comp.3 Comp.4
Market    1.0      1    0.2    0.1      0
Comp.1    1.0      1    0.0    0.0      0
Comp.2    0.2      0    1.0    0.0      0
Comp.3    0.1      0    0.0    1.0      0
Comp.4    0.0      0    0.0    0.0      1

Standard Deviation:
Market Comp.1 Comp.2 Comp.3 Comp.4
1.8    2.8    1.2    1.0    0.8
```

Please note that the first principal component is highly correlated to the market and all principal components have very low correlation to each other and very low correlation to the market. Also by construction the volatility of principal components is decreasing. An interesting observation that you might want to check yourself: principal components are quite persistent in time (i.e. if you compute both correlations and volatilities using the future prices, for example, 4 years of prices, the principal components maintain their correlation and volatility profiles)

Next, let’s check if any of the principal components are mean-reverting. I will use Augmented Dickey-Fuller test to check if principal components are mean-reverting. (small p-value => stationary i.e. mean-reverting)

```	#*****************************************************************
# Find stationary components, Augmented Dickey-Fuller test
#******************************************************************
library(tseries)
equity = bt.apply.matrix(1 + ifna(-ret %*% components,0), cumprod)
equity = make.xts(equity, index(prices))

# test for stationarity ( mean-reversion )
```

The Augmented Dickey-Fuller test indicates that the 4th principal component is stationary. Let’s have a closer look at its price history and its composition:

```	#*****************************************************************
# Plot securities and components
#*****************************************************************
layout(1:2)

# add Bollinger Bands
i.comp = 4
bbands1 = BBands(repCol(equity[,i.comp],3), n=200, sd=1)
bbands2 = BBands(repCol(equity[,i.comp],3), n=200, sd=2)
temp = cbind(equity[,i.comp], bbands1[,'up'], bbands1[,'dn'], bbands1[,'mavg'],
bbands2[,'up'], bbands2[,'dn'])
colnames(temp) = spl('Comp. 4,1SD Up,1SD Down,200 SMA,2SD Up,2SD Down')

plota.matplot(temp, main=paste(i.comp, 'Principal component'))

barplot.with.labels(sort(components[,i.comp]), 'weights')
```

The price history along with 200 day moving average and 1 and 2 Bollinger Bands are shown on the top pane. The portfolio weights of the 4th principal component are shown on the bottom pane.

So now you have a mean-reverting portfolio that is also uncorrelated to the market. There are many ways you can use this infromation. Please share your ideas and suggestions.

To view the complete source code for this example, please have a look at the bt.pca.trading.test() function in bt.test.r at github.

Categories: Portfolio Construction, R
1. January 6, 2013 at 8:41 pm

If you’re sure that this portfolio is mean reverting you can trade it!!! This is the first use came to my mind. If this portfolio is uncorrelated to the market it’s a good thing also because you can add this trading to a beta position in your portfolio and enjoy a better return/risk. The question as always is: are we really sure that this portfolio is mean reverting?

• January 9, 2013 at 1:42 am

i’m not familiar to mean-reversion tradings. But it seems to me that it’s a kind of gambler’s fallacy? That is, will a high price today really affect the probability of high / low tomorrow?

• May 30, 2013 at 9:24 am

Well if it is really mean reverting, it does affect tomorrow’s probability. In practice it is hard to tell whether it is really mean reverting or not when facing real data even without mentioning regimes switches.

2. January 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm

You wrote ‘principal components are quite persistent in time (i.e. if you compute both correlations and volatilities using the future prices, for example, 4 years of prices, the principal components maintain their correlation and volatility profiles)’ – it would be interesting to test that statement quantitatively. Are they in fact persistent?

3. January 9, 2013 at 8:39 am

Are those weight fixed/ changing? Over what period. Is the mean reversion not due to rebalancing of weights every time if they are changing? These are the question I am thinking out aloud as I am trying to understand the implications of how to trade a PCA portfolio and what the portfolio price denotes. Thanks for your brilliant posts as always. You introduce us to fascinating ideas in one place. Happy New Year to you and your blog viewers.
John

4. January 27, 2013 at 5:54 am

Thanks for sharing this interesting idea. I think the first and second PCA component of the market should be beta and industry/sector shift respectively. It’s interesting to see a mean reverting component. But if the eigonvector is small enough, that component can be very random. RMT should be able to rule out this based on your sample size. In addition, ADF test should be done on the returns I think. Would like to hear your thoughts on this.

5. February 15, 2013 at 7:47 pm

16 # normalize all selected components to have total weight = 1
17 components = components / repRow(colSums(abs(components)), len(tickers))

Is correct the above expression? The colSums of components is not = 1.
This is because you use “abs(components)”.

1. No trackbacks yet.