Durbin Watson Statistic


DEFINITION of 'Durbin Watson Statistic'

A number that tests for autocorrelation in the residuals from a statistical regression analysis. The Durbin-Watson statistic is always between 0 and 4. A value of 2 means that there is no autocorrelation in the sample. Values approaching 0 indicate positive autocorrelation and values toward 4 indicate negative autocorrelation.

BREAKING DOWN 'Durbin Watson Statistic'

Autocorrelation can be a significant problem in analyzing historical pricing information if one does not know to look out for it. For instance, since stock prices tend not to change too radically from one day to another, the prices from one day to the next could potentailly be highly correlated, even though there is little useful information in this observation. In order to avoid autocorrelation issues, the easiest solution in finance is to simply convert a series of historical prices into a series of percentage-price changes from day to day.

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