Chaos Theory

Definition of 'Chaos Theory'


A mathematical concept that explains that it is possible to get random results from normal equations. The main precept behind this theory is the underlying notion of small occurrences significantly affecting the outcomes of seemingly unrelated events.

Also referred to as "non-linear dynamics".

Investopedia explains 'Chaos Theory'


Chaos theory has been applied to many different things, from predicting weather patterns to the stock market. Simply put, chaos theory is an attempt to see and understand the underlying order of complex systems that may appear to be without order at first glance.

Related to financial markets, proponents of chaos theory believe that price is the very last thing to change for a stock, bond, or some other security. Price changes can be determined through stringent mathematical equations predicting the following factors:

1) A trader's own personal motives, needs, desires, hopes, fears and beliefs are complex and nonlinear.
2) Volume changes
3) Acceleration of the changes
4) Momentum behind the changes

Chaos theory is highly controversial and extremely complicated.


Filed Under:

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Accelerated Share Repurchase - ASR

    A specific method by which corporations can repurchase outstanding shares of their stock. The accelerated share repurchase (ASR) is usually accomplished by the corporation purchasing shares of its stock from an investment bank. The investment bank borrows the shares from clients or share lenders and sells them to the company.
  2. Microeconomic Pricing Model

    A model of the way prices are set within a market for a given good. According to this model, prices are set based on the balance of supply and demand in the market. In general, profit incentives are said to resemble an "invisible hand" that guides competing participants to an equilibrium price. The demand curve in this model is determined by consumers attempting to maximize their utility, given their budget.
  3. Centralized Market

    A financial market structure that consists of having all orders routed to one central exchange with no other competing market. The quoted prices of the various securities listed on the exchange represent the only price that is available to investors seeking to buy or sell the specific asset.
  4. Balanced Investment Strategy

    A portfolio allocation and management method aimed at balancing risk and return. Such portfolios are generally divided equally between equities and fixed-income securities.
  5. Negative Carry

    A situation in which the cost of holding a security exceeds the yield earned. A negative carry situation is typically undesirable because it means the investor is losing money. An investor might, however, achieve a positive after-tax yield on a negative carry trade if the investment comes with tax advantages, as might be the case with a bond whose interest payments were nontaxable.
  6. Rounding Bottom

    A chart pattern used in technical analysis, which is identified by a series of price movements that, when graphed, form the shape of a "U". Rounding bottoms are found at the end of extended downward trends and signify a reversal in long-term price movements.
Trading Center