Pairs Trading: An Optimal Selling Rule with Constraints

28 Jul 2023  ·  Ruyi Liu, Jingzhi Tie, Zhen Wu, Qing Zhang ·

The focus of this paper is on identifying the most effective selling strategy for pairs trading of stocks. In pairs trading, a long position is held in one stock while a short position is held in another. The goal is to determine the optimal time to sell the long position and repurchase the short position in order to close the pairs position. The paper presents an optimal pairs-trading selling rule with trading constraints. In particular, the underlying stock prices evolve according to a two dimensional geometric Brownian motion and the trading permission process is given in terms of a two-state {trading allowed, trading not allowed} Markov chain. It is shown that the optimal policy can be determined by a threshold curve which is obtained by solving the associated HJB equations (quasi-variational inequalities). A closed form solution is obtained. A verification theorem is provided. Numerical experiments are also reported to demonstrate the optimal policies and value functions.

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