Essays On Option Market Information Content, Market Segmentation And Fear
Chowdhury, Mishuk Anwar
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This dissertation consists of three essays. The first essay tests whether stock returns can be predicted using divergence from put-call parity. Using a robust methodology that controls for the early exercise premium of American put and call options, the study shows that stocks with upside divergence from put-call parity outperform stocks with downside divergence from put-call parity. Predictability is persistent over multiple holding periods and divergence is also predictive of tail events. The second essay examines segmentation of equity and option markets in the presence of information asymmetry. The study uses the slope of the implied volatility skew as a proxy for negative jump risk, option implied stock price as a measure of deviation from put-call parity, and the daily short-sell volume ratio as a measure of negative information flow in the equity market. The option market based signals predict future returns more reliably than the short-sell based signals. Short-sellers only profit when their convictions line-up with negative signals in the option market. The third essay introduces a measure of fear derived from the implied volatility smile. The study examines the relationship between fear and the cross section of option returns. The results show that put options written on stocks with high fear premium outperform put options written on stocks with low fear premium. Fear does not predict the realization of a tail event. This finding confirms the irrational nature of fear.