Abstract: Optimal control models for limit order trading often assume that the underlying asset price is a Brownian motion since they deal with relatively short time scales. The resulting optimal bid and ask limit order prices tend to track the underlying price as one might expect. This is indeed the case with the model of Avellaneda and Stoikov [Quantitative Finance 8(3) (2008), 217–224], which has been studied extensively. We consider here this model under the condition when the underlying price is mean reverting. Our main result is that when time is far from the terminal, the optimal price for bid and ask limit orders is constant, which means that it does not track the underlying price. Numerical simulations confirm this behavior. When the underlying price is mean reverting, then for times sufficiently far from terminal, it is more advantageous to focus on the mean price and ignore fluctuations around it. Mean reversion suggests that limit orders will be executed with some regularity, and this is why they are optimal. We also explore intermediate time regimes where limit order prices are influenced by the inventory of outstanding orders. The duration of this intermediate regime depends on the liquidity of the market as measured by specific parameters in the model.
Keywords: Limit order trading, optimal execution, stochastic optimal control, mean reverting prices