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EMA-type trading strategies maximize utility under partial information

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    *Corresponding author

The second author was supported by a Simons Collaboration Grant

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  • Consider a partially-informed trader who does not observe the true drift of a financial asset. Under Gaussian price dynamics with stochastic unobserved drift, including cases of mean-reversion and momentum dynamics, we take a filtering approach to solve explicitly for trading strategies which maximize expected logarithmic, exponential, and power utility. We prove that the optimal strategies depend on current price and an exponentially-weighted moving average (EMA) price, and in some cases current wealth – not on any other stochastic variables. We establish optimality over all price-history-dependent strategies satisfying integrability criteria, not just EMA-type strategies. Thus the condition that the optimal trading strategy reduces to a function of EMA and current price is not an assumption but rather a consequence of our analysis. We solve explicitly for the optimal parameters of the EMA-type strategies, and verify optimality rigorously.

    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 91G10; Secondary: 93E11.

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