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Canonical Sectors and Evolution of Firms in the US Stock Markets

Ricky Chachra, Alexander A. Alemi, Lorien X. Hayden, Paul H. Ginsparg, James P. Sethna

http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.06205
Tickers: List of companies analyzed and their corresponding tickers.
Pies: Pie charts showing the breakdown of companies into their constituent sectors.
Flows: Time evolution for each company.
Canonical Sectors: Time series of the sectors given by the decomposition.
Dimensionality: Sankey diagram expressing the changes which occur as the dimensionality of decomposition is changed.
A classification of companies into sectors of the economy is important for macroeconomic analysis and for investments into the sector-specific financial indices and exchange traded funds (ETFs). Major industrial classification systems and financial indices have historically been based on expert opinion and developed manually. Here we show how unsupervised machine learning can provide a more objective and comprehensive broad-level sector decomposition of stocks. An emergent low-dimensional structure in the space of historical stock price returns automatically identifies "canonical sectors" in the market, and assigns every stock a participation weight into these sectors. Furthermore, by analyzing data from different periods, we show how these weights for listed firms have evolved over time.