Physicists successfully predict stock exchange plunge

More physics and stock market stuff (earlier article on physics and stock market here).

From New Scientist:

WITH 20/20 hindsight, financial crashes seem inevitable, yet we never see them coming. Now a team of physicists and financiers have bucked the trend by successfully predicting a steep fall in the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Their model, which employs concepts from the physics of complex atomic systems, was developed by Didier Sornette of the Financial Crisis Observatory in Zurich, Switzerland, and Wei-Xing Zhou of the East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai. The idea is that if a plot of the logarithm of the market’s value over time deviates upwards from a straight line, it’s a clear warning that people are investing simply because the market is rising rather than paying heed to the intrinsic worth of companies. By projecting the trend, the team can predict when growth will become unsustainable and the market will crash.

Sornette, Zhou and colleagues applied their model to the Shanghai Composite Index, which tracks the combined worth of all companies listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the world’s second largest. Early this year, the index gained 50 per cent in just four months. In July, the team predicted that the index would start to fall sharply by 10 August (www.arxiv.org/abs/0907.1827). The index duly began to slide on 4 August, falling almost 20 per cent in the subsequent two weeks.

Anyone hoping to exploit the model for profit should think twice. “If enough investors take action based on our predictions, the evolution of prices will probably be affected,” says Zhou.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: