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Options on Low-priced Stocks Overpriced?

| | Posted in: Equity Options

Does nominal stock price matter for associated option returns? In their May 2020 paper entitled "Cheap Options Are Expensive", Assaf Eisdorfer, Amit Goyal and Alexei Zhdanov evaluate option returns across the range of U.S. stock prices. For each stock each month, they:

  • Pick a single call option and a single put option closest to at-the-money and expiring the third Friday of the month, excluding those with zero open interest or zero trading volume to ensure liquidity.
  • Sort options into tenths (deciles) based on underlying stock price.
  • Construct equal-weighted delta-hedged call and put portfolios and hold to option expiration, computing returns from option quote midpoints (zero effective bid-ask spread).

Using price and characteristics data for 257,107 call options and 204,123 put options on a broad sample of U.S. common stocks during 1996 through 2017, they find that:

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