cattle (corporate actions on the command-line)
A simple library that handles corporate action events and applies them to time series of market prices, outstanding securities and nominal values.
In terms of that library a command-line tool
cattle is built that
reads ISO15022 mt564 messages, stack them and then apply a
time series of corporate action events to a time series of prices, nominal
values and outstanding securities.
Cattle is hosted primarily on github:
- homepage: http://www.fresse.org/cattle/
- github: https://github.com/hroptatyr/cattle
- issues: https://github.com/hroptatyr/cattle/issues
- releases: https://github.com/hroptatyr/cattle/releases
cattle is correctly pronounced SEE-AYE-tool.
- no external dependencies
- licensed under BSD3c
- contains GPLv2 code by Michael Abbott
Suppose we’re interested in a backadjusted time series of ticker
Observed market close prices (in GBP) are:
2013-10-01 10.00 2013-10-02 11.00 2013-10-03 12.00 2013-10-04 11.00 2013-10-07 10.00 2013-10-08 10.00 2013-10-09 10.50
We know there was a dividend of GBP 2.00 ex’d on 04 Oct 2013, and another dividend payment ex’d on 07 Oct 2013, also GBP 2.00. The actual mt564-messages are transformed into a JSON-like format; the ex-date is the key column:
2013-10-04 caev=DVCA .nett/GBP="2.00" .xdte="2013-10-04" .payd="2013-10-11" 2013-10-07 caev=DVCA .nett/GBP="2.00" .payd="2013-10-21"
The observed market close prices already account for the corporate action events so daily returns are perfectly explicable when both prices as well as corporate action events are presented side by side.
However, many (if not most) time series analysis tools (and humans alike) will be fooled into thinking that from 04 Oct the prices are falling or stalling; to present the real picture (and hence allow sensible analyses) we have to somehow incorporate the CA events into the close price time series, i.e. as we say adjust the prices for corporate action events.
Suppose the time series is stored, in the syntax above, in a file
XYZ.tser, the corporate action events in
$ cattle apply XYZ.tser XYZ.echs 2013-10-01 6.00 2013-10-02 7.00 2013-10-03 8.00 2013-10-04 9.00 2013-10-07 10.00 2013-10-08 10.00 2013-10-09 10.50 $
will produce a back-adjusted price time series that pretends the dividend payouts all happened at some time before the series begins.
As can be seen, at no point in time the prices are actually falling and
the daily price differences now accurately reflect what actually
happened to the ticker
Back-adjustment leaves prices in the present unchanged while prices in the past undergo the adjustment process. This is helpful because present prices can just be appended to the back-adjusted series provided no corporate action has taken place. A new adjustment run is only necessary when a new corporate action event has been observed.
However, back-adjustment will interfere with records about position openings as now the opening price does not correspond to the adjusted price. In such cases it can be helpful to forward-adjust a time series as demonstrated by:
$ cattle apply --forward XYZ.tser XYZ.echs 2013-10-01 10.00 2013-10-02 11.00 2013-10-03 12.00 2013-10-04 13.00 2013-10-07 14.00 2013-10-08 14.00 2013-10-09 14.50 $
This time series pretends the dividend payouts will happen at some point
in the future and that the ticker
XYZ is still quoted cum dividend.
Had you opened a position on 01 Oct, and closed it on 08 Oct, you would have made GBP 4.00, the real market price has gone from GBP 10.00 to GBP 10.00 but there has been 2 dividend payments a GBP 2.00, so totalling GBP 4.00.
Forward-adjustment leaves prices in the past (before the first corporate action event) untouched but changes all prices afterwards. That means a new price can only be added to the series in adjusted form, i.e. regardless whether or not a corporate action event has been observed the adjustment tool must be run every day.
Reversing the adjustment
Sometimes it is desirable to reproduce the original (raw) time series from an adjusted series and a series of corporate action events.
The cattle tool provides the
--reverse switch for this. For the first
example (stored in a file
XYZ.adj) the command line:
$ cattle apply --reverse XYZ.adj XYZ.echs 2013-10-01 10.00 2013-10-02 11.00 2013-10-03 12.00 2013-10-04 11.00 2013-10-07 10.00 2013-10-08 10.00 2013-10-09 10.50 $
will reproduce exactly the original time series (
XYZ.tser) that we
used to produce the adjusted series.
Similarly for the forward-adjusted time series (stored in
$ cattle apply --reverse --forward XYZ.fadj XYZ.echs 2013-10-01 10.00 2013-10-02 11.00 2013-10-03 12.00 2013-10-04 11.00 2013-10-07 10.00 2013-10-08 10.00 2013-10-09 10.50 $
reproduces the original time series, too. The switch
--forward in the
second example is necessary as information is lost about whether an
adjustment has been applied forwards or backwards.
So far we considered corporate actions (especially those with payment events) as if they could be moved in time so long as prices are adjusted accordingly. However, this inaccurately reflects situations where it’s not a concrete investment that needs to be tracked but rather a benchmark or something abstract (like what would have happened to an initial EUR 100 investment).
Under the assumption that we can always opt out of payouts (like
dividends, interest payments, etc.) cattle offers an adjustment mode
that keeps true returns unchanged. Given above time series and
corporate action event file (
XYZ.echs) the command line:
$ cattle apply --total-return XYZ.tser XYZ.echs 2013-10-01 6.82 2013-10-02 7.50 2013-10-03 8.18 2013-10-04 9.00 2013-10-07 10.00 2013-10-08 10.00 2013-10-09 10.50 $
As in the total payout case, future values could simply be appended to the series when no corporate action had taken place in the covered period. Unlike before, dividends account partially for past prices from the moment the dividend has gone ex, i.e. the adjusted series does not pretend the dividends have been paid out at some point in the past or future but have been part of the observed prices all along.
Naturally and for the same reasons as given above, total return
adjustments can also be made in forward direction (
-F is short for
$ cattle apply --total-return -F XYZ.tser XYZ.echs 2013-10-01 10.00 2013-10-02 11.00 2013-10-03 12.00 2013-10-04 13.20 2013-10-07 14.67 2013-10-08 14.67 2013-10-09 15.40 $
With total return adjustments it’s very easy to answer questions like: How much did my investment earn in percent since opening the position?
Moreover, total return adjustments can be reversed just like total
payout adjustments (using the
--reverse switch). However, because
adjusted prices are always quantised to market prices, the reversal
might suffer from quantisation artefacts.
Supported corporate action events
We generally only support price relevant corporate action events from the SMPG Corporate Actions Events Templates - SR2012:
- BONU issuing of bonus shares
- DRIP dividend reinvestment plans
- DVCA cash dividends
- DVSE stock dividends
- RHTS rights issue
- SPLF forward split
- SPLR reverse split
To aid unconventional action events cattle also supports its own caev
CTL1 that allows to explicitly express any linear relationships
of a corporate action event transition with respect to the market price,
the nominal value and the number of outstanding shares. To convert
ordinary corporate action events into this explicit format, use
For detailed coverage of how corporate actions are represented internally, as well as details on the arithmetic in use see this dedicated page.