Author(s): Alejandro Bernales and Massimo Guidolin
We examine whether the dynamics of the implied volatility surface of individual equity options contains exploitable predictability patterns. Predictability in implied volatilities is expected due to the learning behavior of agents in option markets. In particular, we explore the possibility that the dynamics of the implied volatility surface of individual equity options may be associated with movements in the volatility surface of S&P 500 index options. We present evidence of strong predictable features in the cross-section of equity options and of dynamic linkages between the implied volatility surfaces of equity options and S&P 500 index options. Moreover, time-variations in stock option volatility surfaces are best predicted by incorporating information from the dynamics in the implied volatility surface of S&P 500 index options. We analyze the economic value of such dynamic patterns using strategies that trade straddle and delta-hedged portfolios, and we find that before transaction costs such strategies produce abnormal risk-adjusted returns.
Keywords: Equity options; Index options; Implied volatility surface; Predictability; Trading strategies
JEL codes: C53, G13, G17