In this paper we model Value-at-Risk (VaR) for daily asset returns using a collection of parametric univariate and multivariate models of the ARCH class based on the skewed Student distribution. We show that models that rely on a symmetric density distribution for the error term underperform with respect to skewed density models when the left and right tails of the distribution of returns must be modelled. Thus, VaR for traders having both long and short positions is not adequately modelled using usual normal or Student distributions. We suggest using an APARCH model based on the skewed Student distribution (combined with a time-varying correlation in the multivariate case) to fully take into account the fat left and right tails of the returns distribution. This allows for an adequate modelling of large returns defined on long and short trading positions. The performances of the univariate models are assessed on daily data for three international stock indexes and three US stocks of the Dow Jones index. In a second application, we consider a portfolio of three US stocks and model its long and short VaR using a multivariate skewed Student density. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.