This article derives underlying asset risk-neutral probability distributions of European options on the S&P 500 index. Nonparametric methods are used to choose probabilities that minimize an objective function subject to requiring that the probabilities are consistent with observed option and underlying asset prices. Alternative optimization specifications produce approximately the same implied distributions. A new and fast optimization technique for estimating probability distributions based on maximizing the smoothness of the resulting distribution is proposed. Since the crash, the risk-neutral probability of a three (four) standard deviation decline in the index (about −36 percent (−46 percent) over a year) is about 10 (100) times more likely than under the assumption of lognormality.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.