Is There Money to Be Made Investing in Options? A Historical Perspective
James S. Doran
Florida State University - Department of Finance
December 8, 2006
This paper examines the historical performance of 12 portfolios that include S&P 100/500 index options. Each option portfolio is formed using options with different maturities and moneyness, while incorporating bid-ask spreads, transaction costs, and margin requirements. Raw and risk-adjusted returns of option portfolios are compared to a benchmark portfolio that is only long the underlying asset. This allows the marginal impact of including options in the portfolio to be examined. The analysis reveals that including options in the portfolio most often results in underperformance relative to the benchmark portfolio. However, a portfolio that incorporates written options can outperform the benchmark on a raw and risk-adjusted basis. This result is dependent on restricting option investment relative to the maximum allowable margin. While positive and significant risk-adjusted performance is observed for some option portfolios, greater risk tolerance relative to the long index benchmark portfolio is required.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: Portfolio Returns, Option Strategies, Option Pricing, Sharpe Ratios, S&P 500
JEL Classification: G11, G12, G13working papers series
Date posted: January 4, 2006 ; Last revised: July 16, 2008
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