I have a time series of log-returns of a stock. I want to determine whether the time series is just white noise or if there are some other pattern. How to I use the definition of white noise to make a conclusion?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you add a graph of what your time series currently looks like, and its ACF? $\endgroup$
    – Jon
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ anyway, financial time series implies "some other pattern" ,all the time. $\endgroup$
    – tagoma
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


You want to look at an autocorrelation function (ACF) plot. If no lags are significantly correlated, then you basically have white noise or a MA(q) process aka moving average.

You can use this guide here to compare what your ACF plot looks like to determine if your time-series is "white noise" or not. Guide to ACF/PACF Plots

Also, feel free to browse through previous time-series related posts like:

  1. How to interpret ACF and PACF plots

  2. Help interpreting ACF- and PACF-plots

  3. Interpreting ACF and PACF Plot


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