




Kurtosis, of Greek origin meaning "bulging" or "swelling", is a measurement used to determine the peakedness of a data distribution. It essentially measures a bell curve. In other words, Kurtosis measures whether the data is sharp or flat relative to a normal distribution. Since Kurtosis measures the shape of the distribution (the fatness of the tails), it focuses on how returns are ranged around the mean. A Kurtosis coefficient of three indicates a normal distribution. Kurtosis of less than three indicates a low peak with a fat midrange on either side; this is referred to as platykurtic. Conversely, Kurtosis greater than three indicates a sharp/high peak with a thin midrange and fat tails; this is called leptokurtic. Therefore, put simply, Kurtosis describes how bunched around the center or spread at the endpoints a frequency distribution is. Investors can use the information of Kurtosis to describe trends found in the charts to assess volatility; sometimes Kurtosis is called "the volatility of volatility." Kurtosis is like skewness, except skewness only measures one tail's fatness.
Rate this Kurtosis definition...




Where is the market headed? The answer may surprise you. Find out with the exclusive & Barron's recommended charts of Chart of the Day. 

Popular Terms: cancelled check, stock split, exdividend, class C shares, balance sheet, dividends payable, deferred tax, 401a, average price per share, stock market close, VIX, current ratio, open position, EBITDA, debt service coverage, irrevocable trust, risk management, required rate of return, retained earnings, inflation, covered put, FICO score, diluted share, APR, quality assurance, 144a, in escrow, whollyowned subsidiary, exdividend date, reverse mortgage, labor relations, 1035 exchange, deferred revenue, Key Rate Duration, Zero Cost Collar, 1031 exchange, option premium, phantom income, LIBOR, command economy, limit order, FTSE, minority interest, margin rate, annual return, implied volatility, real GDP, liquidity ratio, per diem


 