T. Bali and S. Murray: Does Risk-Neutral Skewness Predict the Cross-Section of Equity Option Portfolio Returns?

February 20, 2012

We investigate the pricing of risk-neutral skewness in the stock options market by creating skewness assets comprised of two option positions (one long and one short) and a position in the underlying stock. The assets are created such that exposure to changes in the price of the underlying stock (delta), and exposure to changes in implied volatility (vega) are removed, isolating the effect of skewness. We find a strong negative relation between implied risk-neutral skewness and the returns of the skewness assets, consistent with a positive skewness preference.