Intra-day futures price volatility: Information effects and variance persistence



This paper was prepared for presentation at the Conference on Nonlinear Dynamics and Econometrics, UCLA, 5–6 April, 1991, under the title ‘Information and chronological time effects in intra-day futures price volatility.’ The authors are grateful to participants of the Nonlinear Dynamics Conference and to Leigh Riddick, George Wang, and two anonymous referees for helpful comments. The BDS program was provided by W. D. Dechert and the BISPEC program was provided by Doug Patterson. The views stated within are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or its staff.

This paper examines the role of the rate of information arrival proxy variables, as they relate to persistence in the variance structure of minute-by-minute S&P 500 Index Futures returns series. The role of contract volume, floor transactions, the number of price changes, executed order imbalance, and an information composite in reducing variance persistence is examined. All proxy variables are found to explain a significant amount of returns variance. While the characteristics of returns data vary daily, some evidence of remaining variance persistence is found, regardless of the definition of the rate of information arrival variable. Our results suggest that utilization of a pure ARCH-type model for highfrequency returns data implies a mis-specification.