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M. Karoui, “Option-Implied Equity Premia and the Predictability of Stock Market Returns,” (McGill University, 19 January 2012).

M. Karoui, “Option-Implied Equity Premia and the Predictability of Stock Market Returns,” (McGill University, 19 January 2012).

Abstract: This paper proposes a novel approach to extracting option-implied equity premia, and empirically examines the information content of these risk premia for forecasting the stock market return. Our approach does not require specifying the functional form of the pricing kernel, and does not impose any restrictions on investors’ preferences. We only assume the existence of put and call options which complete the market, and show that the equity premium can be inferred from expected excess returns on a portfolio of options. An empirical investigation of S&P 500 index options yields the following conclusions: (i) the implied equity premium predicts stock market returns; (ii) the implied equity premium consistently outperforms variables commonly used in the forecasting literature both in- and out-of-sample; (iii) at the cross-sectional level, stocks that are more sensitive to the implied equity premium have higher returns on average.