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An empirical investigation of UK option returns: overpricing and the role of higher systematic moments

Research output: Working paper

Publication date2004
Place of PublicationLancaster University
PublisherThe Department of Accounting and Finance
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameAccounting and Finance Working Paper Series


The Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) assumes either that all asset returns are normally distributed or that investors have mean-variance preferences. Given empirical observations of asset returns, which document evidence of skewness and kurtosis, both assumptions are suspect. While several studies have investigated incorporating higher moments into asset pricing models using equity data, literature on the contribution of the third and fourth moments in explaining the return-generating process in options markets is sparse. Using a two-pass methodology we investigate an asset pricing model that allows moments of higher order than two using Europeanstyle exercise (ESX) equity index option data from the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE). Our empirical investigation shows that ESX option contracts appear to be overpriced and that on average almost all puts and calls earn negative daily returns during our ten-year sample period. Furthermore, our regression results show that systematic variance has a significant role in explaining the cross-section of option returns and that the role of systematic skewness and systematic kurtosis throughout the sample period is less clear.