Dr Alfonso Dufour

'Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

  • Associate Professor of Finance

Contact details

Profile & Expertise

Alfonso holds a Laurea in Economia e Commercio (cum laude) from the University of Venice, Italy and an MA and a PhD in Economics, both from the University of California, San Diego.

His research interest spans issues in financial econometrics, market design and structure, empirical market microstructure. He has written articles about forecasting models for transaction prices; measures of market liquidity; and methods for comparing and contrasting alternative market structures. Currently, he is studying the effects of market fragmentation on the quality of European markets.

His paper ‘Time and the price impact of a Trade’ (with Robert F. Engle) was short-listed for the Smith-Breedon best paper prize in the Journal of Finance for 2001.

He is Course Convenor of the Derivative Securities – Pricing and Trading module on the BSc programme and of the Trading and Exchanges module on the MSc programme.

Specialisms

  • Financial Econometrics
  • Market Microstructure
  • Regulation

Key publications, books, research & papers

Article

The equity-like behaviour of sovereign bonds

Dufour, A. , Stancu, A. and Varotto, S. (2017) The equity-like behaviour of sovereign bonds. Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, 48. pp. 25-46. ISSN 1042-4431 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intfin.2016.11.014

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Using a rich dataset of high frequency historical information from 2004 to 2013 we study the determinants of European sovereign bond returns over calm and crisis periods. We find that the sign of the equity beta crucially depends on country risk. In low risk countries, government bonds represent a natural hedge against equity risk as the equity beta is negative regardless of market conditions. On the other hand, government bonds of high risk countries lose their “safe-asset” status and exhibit more equity-like behaviour during the sovereign debt crisis, with positive and strongly significant co-movements relative to the stock market. Our estimates indicate that the equity beta switches from negative to positive when a sovereign’s credit spread rises above 2%. We find that the decoupling of the government bond market between high risk and low risk countries implies that indiscriminate portfolio diversification does not pay. Instead, “prudent diversification” appears to offer superior risk adjusted returns in periods of sovereign stress and through the economic cycle.

Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Dr Simone Varotto

Dr Simone Varotto

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Article

Information entropy and measures of market risk

Pele, D. T., Lazar, E. and Dufour, A. (2017) Information entropy and measures of market risk. Entropy, 19 (5). 226. ISSN 1099-4300 doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/e19050226

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In this paper we investigate the relationship between the information entropy of the distribution of intraday returns and intraday and daily measures of market risk. Using data on the EUR/JPY exchange rate, we find a negative relationship between entropy and intraday Value-at-Risk, and also between entropy and intraday Expected Shortfall. This relationship is then used to forecast daily Value-at-Risk, using the entropy of the distribution of intraday returns as a predictor.

Dr Emese Lazar

Dr Emese Lazar

Programme Director: MSc Financial Engineering

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Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Book

Risk and trading on London's Alternative Investment Market: The stock market for smaller and growing companies

Board, J. , Dufour, A. , Hartavi, Y., Sutcliffe, C. and Wells, S. (2015) Risk and trading on London's Alternative Investment Market: The stock market for smaller and growing companies. Palgrave Pivot. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke. ISBN 9781137361295

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Professor John Board

Professor John Board

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Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Professor Charles Sutcliffe

Professor Charles Sutcliffe

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Article

The determinants of a cross market arbitrage opportunity: theory and evidence for the European bond market

Perlin, M., Dufour, A. and Brooks, C. (2014) The determinants of a cross market arbitrage opportunity: theory and evidence for the European bond market. Annals of Finance, 10 (3). pp. 457-480. ISSN 1614-2454 doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10436-013-0242-5

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This paper examines the determinants of cross-platform arbitrage profits. We develop a structural model that enables us to decompose the likelihood of an arbitrage opportunity into three distinct factors: the fixed cost to trade the opportunity, the level at which one of the platforms delays a price update and the impact of the order flow on the quoted prices (inventory and asymmetric information effects). We then investigate the predictions from the theoretical model for the European Bond market with the estimation of a probit model. Our main finding is that the results found in the empirical part corroborate strongly the predictions from the structural model. The event of a cross market arbitrage opportunity has a certain degree of predictability where an optimal ex ante scenario is represented by a low level of spreads on both platforms, a time of the day close to the end of trading hours and a high volume of trade.

Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Professor Chris Brooks

Professor Chris Brooks

Henley Business School Director of Research, Deputy Head of Department

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Article

On the performance of the tick test

Perlin, M., Brooks, C. and Dufour, A. (2014) On the performance of the tick test. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 54 (1). pp. 42-50. ISSN 1062-9769 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.qref.2013.07.009

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In financial research, the sign of a trade (or identity of trade aggressor) is not always available in the transaction dataset and it can be estimated using a simple set of rules called the tick test. In this paper we investigate the accuracy of the tick test from an analytical perspective by providing a closed formula for the performance of the prediction algorithm. By analyzing the derived equation, we provide formal arguments for the use of the tick test by proving that it is bounded to perform better than chance (50/50) and that the set of rules from the tick test provides an unbiased estimator of the trade signs. On the empirical side of the research, we compare the values from the analytical formula against the empirical performance of the tick test for fifteen heavily traded stocks in the Brazilian equity market. The results show that the formula is quite realistic in assessing the accuracy of the prediction algorithm in a real data situation.

Professor Chris Brooks

Professor Chris Brooks

Henley Business School Director of Research, Deputy Head of Department

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Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Book or Report Section

Microstructure of the Euro-area government bond market

Darbha, M. and Dufour, A. (2013) Microstructure of the Euro-area government bond market. In: Baker, H. K. and Kiymaz, H. (eds.) Market microstructure in emerging and developed markets. Robert W. Kolb series in finance. John Wiley, Hoboken, pp. 39-58. ISBN 9781118278444

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This chapter highlights similarities and differences of equity and fixed- income markets and provides an overview of the characteristics of European government bond market trading and liquidity. Most existing studies focus on the U.S. market. This chapter presents the institutional details of the MTS market, which is the largest European electronic platform for trading government, quasi-government, asset- backed, and corporate fixed- income securities. It reviews the main features of high- frequency fixed- income data and the methods for measuring market liquidity. Finally, the chapter shows how liquidity differs across European countries, how liquidity varies with the structure of the market, and how liquidity has changed during the recent liquidity and sovereign crises.

Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Article

Credit and liquidity components of corporate CDS spreads

Coro, F., Dufour, A. and Varotto, S. (2013) Credit and liquidity components of corporate CDS spreads. Journal of Banking & Finance, 37 (12). pp. 5511-5525. ISSN 0378-4266 doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2013.07.010

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This paper investigates the role of credit and liquidity factors in explaining corporate CDS price changes during normal and crisis periods. We find that liquidity risk is more important than firm-specific credit risk regardless of market conditions. Moreover, in the period prior to the recent “Great Recession” credit risk plays no role in explaining CDS price changes. The dominance of liquidity effects casts serious doubts on the relevance of CDS price changes as an indicator of default risk dynamics. Our results show how multiple liquidity factors including firm specific and aggregate liquidity proxies as well as an asymmetric information measure are critical determinants of CDS price variations. In particular, the impact of informed traders on the CDS price increases when markets are characterised by higher uncertainty, which supports concerns of insider trading during the crisis.

Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Dr Simone Varotto

Dr Simone Varotto

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Article

Permanent trading impacts and bond yields

Dufour, A. and Nguyen, M. (2012) Permanent trading impacts and bond yields. European Journal of Finance, 18 (9). pp. 841-864. ISSN 1466-4364 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/1351847X.2011.601639

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We analyze four years of transaction data for euro-area sovereign bonds traded on the MTS electronic platforms. In order to measure the informational content of trading activity, we estimate the permanent price response to trades. We find not only strong evidence of information asymmetry in sovereign bond markets, but we also show the relevance of information asymmetry in explaining the cross-sectional variations of bond yields across a wide range of bond maturities and countries. Our results confirm that trades of more recently issued bonds and longer maturity bonds have a greater permanent effect on prices. We compare the price impact of trades for bonds across different maturity categories and find that trades of French and German bonds have the highest long-term price impact in the short maturity class whereas trades of German bonds have the highest permanent price impacts in the long maturity class. More importantly, we study the cross-section of bond yields and find that after controlling for conventional factors, investors demand higher yields for bonds with larger permanent trading impact. Interestingly, when investors face increased market uncertainty, they require even higher compensation for information asymmetry.

Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Report

The LSE’s AIM market: effect on returns and trading of Canadian stocks

Board, J. , Wells, S., Dufour, A. and Sutcliffe, C. , (2010) The LSE’s AIM market: effect on returns and trading of Canadian stocks. Report. The Task Force to Modernize Securities Legislation , Canada.

Professor John Board

Professor John Board

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Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Professor Charles Sutcliffe

Professor Charles Sutcliffe

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Book or Report Section

The MiFID: competition in a new European equity market regulatory structure

Davies, R., Dufour, A. and Scott-Quinn, B. (2006) The MiFID: competition in a new European equity market regulatory structure. In: Ferrarini, G. and Wymeersch, E. (eds.) Investor Protection in Europe: Corporate Law Making, The MiFID and Beyond. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199202911

Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Emeritus Professor Brian Scott-Quinn

Emeritus Professor Brian Scott-Quinn

Director of Banking Programmes

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Report

A false perception? The relative riskiness of AIM and listed stocks

Board, J. , Dufour, A. , Sutcliffe, C. and Wells, S., (2006) A false perception? The relative riskiness of AIM and listed stocks. Discussion Papers. 2006-0. Discussion Paper. University of Reading, Reading. pp40.

Professor John Board

Professor John Board

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Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Professor Charles Sutcliffe

Professor Charles Sutcliffe

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Report

Building a competitive and efficient European financial market

Davies, R., Dufour, A. and Scott-Quinn, B. , (2003) Building a competitive and efficient European financial market. Report. European Capital Markets Institute, Brussels. pp103.

Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Emeritus Professor Brian Scott-Quinn

Emeritus Professor Brian Scott-Quinn

Director of Banking Programmes

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Article

Time and the price impact of a trade

Dufour, A. and Engle, R. F. (2000) Time and the price impact of a trade. Journal of Finance, 55 (6). pp. 2467-2498. ISSN 0022-1082 doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/0022-1082.00297

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We use Hasbrouck’s (1991) vector autoregressive model for prices and trades to empirically test and assess the role played by the waiting time between consecutive transactions in the process of price formation. We find that as the time duration between transactions decreases, the price impact of trades, the speed of price adjustment to trade‐related information, and the positive autocorrelation of signed trades all increase. This suggests that times when markets are most active are times when there is an increased presence of informed traders; we interpret such markets as having reduced liquidity.

Dr Alfonso Dufour

Dr Alfonso Dufour

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Events

Our faculty regularly attend a wide range of events across the globe to share their research and expertise, as well as meeting new students. Use the map below to find past and upcoming events in your region.

Taught modules

Financial Markets

The module provides the economic framework for understanding the global financial system and financial markets, financial institutions, market players and the importance of liquidity and price efficiency. Participants will gain an understanding of the international stock and bond markets,…

The module provides the economic framework for understanding the global financial system and financial markets, financial institutions, market players and the importance of liquidity and price efficiency. Participants will gain an understanding of the international stock and bond markets,…

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Liquidity Risk and Algorithmic Trading

The evolution of algorithmic trading, the proliferation of alternative trading platforms for trading the same security and the development of new products and assets with limited liquidity have contributed to raising the awareness of academics and traders on the importance of understanding and…

The evolution of algorithmic trading, the proliferation of alternative trading platforms for trading the same security and the development of new products and assets with limited liquidity have contributed to raising the awareness of academics and traders on the importance of understanding and…

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