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

  • Young-Hye Cho
  • Robert F. Engle

In this paper, we examine the impact of market activity on the percentage bid-ask spreads of S&P 100 index options using transactions data. We propose a new market microstructure theory which we call 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 the latter 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 find option market volume is not a significant determinant of option market spreads. This finding leads us to question the use of volume as a measure of liquidity and supports the derivative hedge 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. The fast market result would be predicted by the asymmetric information theory. Inventory model predicts big spreads in slow markets. Neither result would be observed if the underlying securities market provided a perfect hedge. We interpret these mixed results as meaning that the option market maker is able to only imperfectly hedge his positions in the underlying securities market. Our result of insignificant options volume casts doubt on the price discovery argument between stock and option market (Easley, O'Hara, and Srinivas (1998)). Asymmetric information costs in either market are naturally passed to the other market maker's hedgeing and therefore it is unimportant where the informed traders trade.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7331.

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Date of creation: Sep 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7331
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  1. 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.
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  4. 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.
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  7. 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.
  8. Back, Kerry, 1993. "Asymmetric Information and Options," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 435-72.
  9. 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.
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  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Hasbrouck, Joel, 1988. "Trades, quotes, inventories, and information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 229-252, December.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Garman, Mark B., 1976. "Market microstructure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 257-275, June.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Amihud, Yakov & Mendelson, Haim, 1980. "Dealership market : Market-making with inventory," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 31-53, March.
  24. 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.
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