




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


 