The Information Content of Implied Skewness and Kurtosis Changes Prior to Earnings Announcements for Stock and Option Returns
36 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2008
Date Written: December 1, 2008
We explore whether changes in stock return skewness and kurtosis, as implied in option prices preceding earnings announcements, provide information about subsequent stock and option returns through the announcement. We demonstrate that the change in skewness and kurtosis can be related to changing jump risk premiums, where jump risk can be associated with the uncertainty around the direction and size of the stock price response to the earnings announcement. As such, implied skewness (kurtosis) should capture the direction (magnitude) of a stock jump if option prices change as a result of changing jump risk size and intensity. Examining changes in implied skewness and kurtosis preceding over 74,000 earnings announcements for over 4700 firms, we find that both moments have strong predictive power for future stock returns, even after controlling for implied volatility. Additionally, changes in both moments predict call returns, while put return predictability is primarily linked to skewness. Thus, prior to earnings announcements, option prices contain information about future security returns.
Keywords: Earnings announcements, Option Prices, Higher-Order Moments
JEL Classification: G11, G12, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation