October 1, 2011
This paper investigates the intertemporal relation between volatility spreads and expected returns on the aggregate stock market. We provide evidence for a significantly negative link between volatility spreads and expected returns at the daily and weekly frequencies. We argue that this link is driven by the information flow from option markets to stock markets. The documented relation is significantly stronger for the periods during which (i) S&P 500 constituent firms announce their earnings; (ii) cash flow and discount rate news are large in magnitude; and (iii) consumer sentiment index takes extreme values.