Essays on volatility forecasting
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Stock market volatility has been an important subject in the finance literature for which now an enormous body of research exists. Volatility modelling and forecasting have been in the epicentre of this line of research and although more than a few models have been proposed and key parameters on improving volatility forecasts have been considered, finance research has still to reach a consensus on this topic. This thesis enters the ongoing debate by carrying out empirical investigations by comparing models from the current pool of models as well as exploring and proposing the use of further key parameters in improving the accuracy of volatility modelling and forecasting. The importance of accurately forecasting volatility is paramount for the functioning of the economy and everyone involved in finance activities. For governments, the banking system, institutional and individual investors, researchers and academics, knowledge, understanding and the ability to forecast and proxy volatility accurately is a determining factor for making sound economic decisions. Four are the main contributions of this thesis. First, the findings of a volatility forecasting model comparison reveal that the GARCH genre of models are superior compared to the more ‘simple’ models and models preferred by practitioners. Second, with the use of backward recursion forecasts we identify the appropriate in-sample length for producing accurate volatility forecasts, a parameter considered for the first time in the finance literature. Third, further model comparisons are conducted within a Value-at-Risk setting between the RiskMetrics model preferred by practitioners, and the more complex GARCH type models, arriving to the conclusion that GARCH type models are dominant. Finally, two further parameters, the Volatility Index (VIX) and Trading Volume, are considered and their contribution is assessed in the modelling and forecasting process of a selection of GARCH type models. We discover that although accuracy is improved upon, GARCH type forecasts are still superior.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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