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Modeling the Impacts of Market Activity on Bid-Ask Spreads in the Option Market

  • Engle, Robert F

In this paper, we examine the impact of market activity on the percentage bid-ask spreads of S&P 100 index options using transaction data. We propose a new market microstructure theory called a derivative hedge theory, in which option market percentage spreads will be inversely related to the option market maker's ability to hedge his positions in the underlying market, as measured by the liquidity of this underlying market. In a perfect hedge world, spreads arise from the illiquidity of the underlying market, rather than from inventory risk or informed trading in the option market itself. We estimate three models to investigate various market microstructure theories. In the static model, option spreads are a function of moneyness, time to maturity, option prices, hedge ratios and volatility. The dynamic model includes time between trades or duration and average volume per transaction while the cross-market model adds cross option market activity and spreads in the underlying market. We find option market volume is not a significant determinant of option market spreads, which challenges the validity of volume as a proxy for liquidity and supports my theory. Option market spreads are positively related to spreads in the underlying market, again supporting our theory. However, option market duration does affect option market spreads, with very slow and very fast option markets both leading to bigger spreads. Only the fast market result would be predicted by asymmetric information theory. Inventory models predict big spreads in slow markets. Neither would be observed if the underlying securities market provided a perfect hedge. We interpret these mixed results to mean that the option market maker is able to only imperfectly hedge his positions in the underlying securities market. Our result of insignificant option volume casts doubt on the price discovery argument between stock and option markets (Easley, O'Hara, and Srinivas (1997)). Asymmetric information costs in either market are naturally passed to the other market by market maker's hedging and therefore it is unimportant where the informed traders trade.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC San Diego in its series University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt6rp7g17q.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt6rp7g17q
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  1. Sanford J. Grossman, 1987. "An Analysis of the Implications for Stock and Futures Price Volatility of Program Trading and Dynamic Hedging Strategies," NBER Working Papers 2357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Anat R. Admati, Paul Pfleiderer, 1988. "A Theory of Intraday Patterns: Volume and Price Variability," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(1), pages 3-40.
  3. Hasbrouck, Joel, 1988. "Trades, quotes, inventories, and information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 229-252, December.
  4. Back, Kerry, 1993. "Asymmetric Information and Options," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 435-72.
  5. Easley, David & O'Hara, Maureen, 1992. "Adverse Selection and Large Trade Volume: The Implications for Market Efficiency," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(02), pages 185-208, June.
  6. Hasbrouck, Joel, 1991. " Measuring the Information Content of Stock Trades," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(1), pages 179-207, March.
  7. Foster, F Douglas & Viswanathan, S, 1993. " Variations in Trading Volume, Return Volatility, and Trading Costs: Evidence on Recent Price Formation Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(1), pages 187-211, March.
  8. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-54, May-June.
  9. Easley, David & O'Hara, Maureen, 1992. " Time and the Process of Security Price Adjustment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(2), pages 576-605, June.
  10. Baesel, Jerome B & Shows, George & Thorp, Edward, 1983. " The Cost of Liquidity Services in Listed Options: A Note," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 38(3), pages 989-95, June.
  11. T. Hanan Eytan & Giora Harpaz & Steven Krull, 1988. "The pricing of dollar index futures contracts," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(2), pages 127-139, 04.
  12. Anthony, Joseph H, 1988. " The Interrelation of Stock and Options Market Trading-Volume Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(4), pages 949-64, September.
  13. Grossman, Sanford J & Miller, Merton H, 1988. " Liquidity and Market Structure," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 617-37, July.
  14. Blume, Lawrence & Easley, David & O'Hara, Maureen, 1994. " Market Statistics and Technical Analysis: The Role of Volume," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 153-81, March.
  15. Amihud, Yakov & Mendelson, Haim, 1980. "Dealership market : Market-making with inventory," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 31-53, March.
  16. Branch, Ben & Freed, Walter, 1977. "Bid-Asked Spreads on the Amex and the Big Board," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(1), pages 159-63, March.
  17. Easley, David & O'Hara, Maureen, 1991. " Order Form and Information in Securities Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(3), pages 905-27, July.
  18. Garman, Mark B., 1976. "Market microstructure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 257-275, June.
  19. David Easley & Maureen O'Hara & P.S. Srinivas, 1998. "Option Volume and Stock Prices: Evidence on Where Informed Traders Trade," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(2), pages 431-465, 04.
  20. Bhattacharya, Mihir, 1987. "Price Changes of Related Securities: The Case of Call Options and Stocks," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 22(01), pages 1-15, March.
  21. French, Kenneth R. & Roll, Richard, 1986. "Stock return variances : The arrival of information and the reaction of traders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 5-26, September.
  22. Detemple, Jerome B & Selden, Larry, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Analysis of Option and Stock Market Interactions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(2), pages 279-303, May.
  23. Easley, David, et al, 1996. " Liquidity, Information, and Infrequently Traded Stocks," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1405-36, September.
  24. Biais, Bruno & Hillion, Pierre, 1994. "Insider and Liquidity Trading in Stock and Options Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(4), pages 743-80.
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