Least Squares

Definition of 'Least Squares'


A statistical method used to determine a line of best fit by minimizing the sum of squares created by a mathematical function. A "square" is determined by squaring the distance between a data point and the regression line. The least squares approach limits the distance between a function and the data points that a function is trying to explain. It is used in regression analysis, often in nonlinear regression modeling in which a curve is fit into a set of data.

Investopedia explains 'Least Squares'


The least squares approach is a popular method for determining regression equations. Instead of trying to solve an equation exactly, mathematicians use the least squares to make a close approximation (referred to as a maximum-likelihood estimate). Modeling methods that are often used when fitting a function to a curve include the straight line method, polynomial method, logarithmic method and Gaussian method.


Filed Under:

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. National Best Bid and Offer - NBBO

    A term applying to the SEC requirement that brokers must guarantee customers the best available ask price when they buy securities and the best available bid price when they sell securities.
  2. Maintenance Margin

    The minimum amount of equity that must be maintained in a margin account. In the context of the NYSE and FINRA, after an investor has bought securities on margin, the minimum required level of margin is 25% of the total market value of the securities in the margin account.
  3. Leased Bank Guarantee

    A bank guarantee that is leased to a third party for a specific fee. The issuing bank will conduct due diligence on the creditworthiness of the customer looking to secure a bank guarantee, then lease a guarantee to that customer for a set amount of money and over a set period of time, typically less than two years.
  4. Degree Of Financial Leverage - DFL

    A ratio that measures the sensitivity of a company’s earnings per share (EPS) to fluctuations in its operating income, as a result of changes in its capital structure. Degree of Financial Leverage (DFL) measures the percentage change in EPS for a unit change in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).
  5. Jeff Bezos

    Self-made billionaire Jeff Bezos is famous for founding online retail giant Amazon.com.
  6. Re-fracking

    Re-fracking is the practice of returning to older wells that had been fracked in the recent past to capitalize on newer, more effective extraction technology. Re-fracking can be effective on especially tight oil deposits – where the shale products low yields – to extend their productivity.
Trading Center