




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


 