yield curve - Is trading mean reversion of small principal components of prices profitable? - Quantitative Finance Stack Exchange: "PCA is most commonly used for structuring so-called "butterfly trades." In this, you're neutralizing the first two PCs (level and slope) and trade on the third PC (curvature). For example, after running a PCA on 2y, 5y, and 10y yields, you may conclude that 5y yields are too high relative to 2- and 10-year yields (i.e., 5-year bonds are "cheap"). In this case, you'd buy 5-year bonds, while simultaneously shorting 2- and 10-year bonds. PCA comes into play, because for each unit of 5-year bonds, you have to choose appropriate units of 2- and 10-year bonds ("risk weights") so that the the first two principal components are neutralized, allowing you to trade any abnormalities in the third principle component"
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