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Understanding Index Option Returns

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  • Broadie, Mark
  • Chernov, Mikhail
  • Johannes, Michael

Abstract

This paper studies the returns from investing in index options. Previous research documents significant average option returns, large CAPM alphas, and high Sharpe ratios, and concludes that put options are mispriced. We propose an alternative approach to evaluate the significance of option returns and obtain different conclusions. Instead of using these statistical metrics, we compare historical option returns to those generated by commonly used option pricing models. We find that the most puzzling finding in the existing literature, the large returns to writing out-of-the-money puts, is not even inconsistent with the Black-Scholes model. Moreover, simple stochastic volatility models with no risk premia generate put returns across all strikes that are not inconsistent with the observed data. At-the-money straddle returns are more challenging to understand, and we find that these returns are not inconsistent with explanations such as jump risk premia, Peso problems, and estimation risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Broadie, Mark & Chernov, Mikhail & Johannes, Michael, 2007. "Understanding Index Option Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 6239, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6239
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Chernov, Mikhail & Ronald Gallant, A. & Ghysels, Eric & Tauchen, George, 2003. "Alternative models for stock price dynamics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 116(1-2), pages 225-257.
    2. 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, April.
    3. 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.
    4. 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, June.
    5. David S. Bates, "undated". "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.
    6. Torben G. Andersen & Luca Benzoni & Jesper Lund, 2002. "An Empirical Investigation of Continuous-Time Equity Return Models," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(3), pages 1239-1284, June.
    7. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, August.
    8. Branger, Nicole & Schlag, Christian, 2008. "Can Tests Based on Option Hedging Errors Correctly Identify Volatility Risk Premia?," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 43(04), pages 1055-1090, December.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    jump risk premia; jump-diffusion models; options returns; put pricing puzzle;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing

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