Leptokurtic

Definition of 'Leptokurtic'


A statistical distribution where the points along the X-axis are clustered, resulting in a higher peak (higher kurtosis) than the curvature found in a normal distribution. This high peak and corresponding fat tails means the distribution is more clustered around the mean than in a mesokurtic or platykurtic distribution, and will have a relatively smaller standard deviation. A distribution is leptokurtic when the kurtosis value is a large positive. The prefix "lepto" means "thin," like the shape of its peak.

A distribution is more leptokurtic (peaked) when the kurtosis value is a large positive value.

Investopedia explains 'Leptokurtic'




When analyzing historical returns, kurtosis helps gauge an asset's level of risk. A leptokurtic distribution means that small changes happen less frequently because historical values have clustered by the mean. However, this also means that large fluctuations are more likely within the fat tails.

Leptokurtosis can impact how analysts estimate value at risk (VaR). An investor using a normal distribution to estimate VaR will overestimate at low levels of significance, but will overestimate at high levels of significance if the return distribution is leptokurtic. This is the result of the leptokurtic distribution having a fatter tail. The fat tail means risk is coming from outlier events and extreme observations are much more likely to occur. Therefore, conservative investors would probably avoid this type of return distribution.


Filed Under:

comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Quanto Swap

    A swap with varying combinations of interest rate, currency and equity swap features, where payments are based on the movement of two different countries' interest rates. This is also referred to as a differential or "diff" swap.
  2. Genuine Progress Indicator - GPI

    A metric used to measure the economic growth of a country. It is often considered as a replacement to the more well known gross domestic product (GDP) economic indicator. The GPI indicator takes everything the GDP uses into account, but also adds other figures that represent the cost of the negative effects related to economic activity (such as the cost of crime, cost of ozone depletion and cost of resource depletion, among others).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
Trading Center