A. Tosi, A. Ziegler: The Timing of Option Returns

February 3, 2017

We document empirically that the returns from shorting out-of-the-money S&P 500 put options are concentrated in the few days preceding their expiration. Back-month options generate almost no returns, and front-month options do so only towards the end of the option cycle. The concentration of the option premium at the end of the cycle reflects changes in options’ risk characteristics. Specifically, options’ convexity risk increases sharply close to maturity, making them more sensitive to jumps in the underlying price.