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Expected Option Returns



This paper examines expected option returns in the context of mainstream asset-pricing theory. Under mild assumptions, expected call returns exceed those of the underlying security and increase with the strike price. Likewise, expected put returns are below the risk-free rate and increase with the strike price. S&P index option returns consistently exhibit these characteristics. Under stronger assumptions, expected option returns vary linearly with option betas. However, zero-beta, at-the-money straddle positions produce average losses of approximately three percent per week. This suggests that some additional factor, such as systematic stochastic volatility, is priced in option returns.

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