Dictionary > Finance > M > Moments (of A Statistical Distribution)

# Finance Dictionary - M Terms

# Moments (of A Statistical Distribution)

Statistical distributions show the frequency at which events might occur across a range of values. The most familiar distribution is a normal ‘‘bell shaped’’ curve. In general though, the shape of any distribution can be described by its (infinitely many) moments. a. The first moment is the mean, which indicates the central tendency. b. The second moment is the variance, which indicates the width. c. The third moment is the skewness, which indicates any asymmetric ‘‘leaning’’ whether left or right. d. The fourth moment is the kurtosis, which indicates the degree of central ‘‘peakedness’’ or, equivalently, the ‘‘fatness’’ of the outer tails.