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Understanding Index Option Returns

  • Mark Broadie
  • Mikhail Chernov
  • Michael Johannes

Previous research concludes that options are mispriced based on the high average returns, CAPM alphas, and Sharpe ratios of various put selling strategies. One criticism of these conclusions is that these benchmarks are ill suited to handle the extreme statistical nature of option returns generated by nonlinear payoffs. We propose an alternative way to evaluate the statistical significance of option returns by comparing historical statistics to those generated by option pricing models. The most puzzling finding in the existing literature, the large returns to writing out-of-the-money puts, is not inconsistent (i.e., is statistically insignificant) relative to the Black-Scholes model or the Heston stochastic volatility model due to the extreme sampling uncertainty associated with put returns. This sampling problem can largely be alleviated by analyzing market-neutral portfolios such as straddles or delta-hedged returns. The returns on these portfolios can be explained by jump risk premiums and estimation risk. The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal The Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 22 (2009)
Issue (Month): 11 (November)
Pages: 4493-4529

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:11:p:4493-4529
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  1. Mark Broadie & Mikhail Chernov & Michael Johannes, 2007. "Model Specification and Risk Premia: Evidence from Futures Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(3), pages 1453-1490, 06.
  2. Mikhail Chernov & A. Ronald Gallant & Eric Ghysels & George Tauchen, 2002. "Alternative Models for Stock Price Dynamics," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-58, CIRANO.
  3. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2000. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David S. Bates, . "Pricing Options Under Jump-Diffusion Processes," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 37-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  5. Luca Benzoni & Pierre Collin-Dufresne & Robert S. Goldstein, 2005. "Can Standard Preferences Explain the Prices of out of the Money S&P 500 Put Options," NBER Working Papers 11861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nicolas P. B. Bollen & Robert E. Whaley, 2004. "Does Net Buying Pressure Affect the Shape of Implied Volatility Functions?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(2), pages 711-753, 04.
  7. Chernov, Mikhail, 2007. "On the Role of Risk Premia in Volatility Forecasting," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 25, pages 411-426, October.
  8. Ait-Sahalia, Yacine & Wang, Yubo & Yared, Francis, 2001. "Do option markets correctly price the probabilities of movement of the underlying asset?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 67-110, May.
  9. Andrea Buraschi & Alexei Jiltsov, 2006. "Model Uncertainty and Option Markets with Heterogeneous Beliefs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(6), pages 2841-2897, December.
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