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Understanding Index Option Returns

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

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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6239.

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Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6239
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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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  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. 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.
  8. 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.
  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.
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