Gambling preference and individual equity option returns

Abstract

We investigate the relation between the option returns and the underlying stock's lottery-like characteristics. Call options written on the most lottery-like stocks underperform otherwise similar call options written on the least lottery-like stocks by 10–20% per month. Moreover, the more lottery-like the underlying stocks, the further and more frequently the options deviate from the put–call parity in the direction induced by overvalued calls. Furthermore, the lottery-like characteristic effect is stronger during periods of high investor sentiment. The results suggest that optimism-induced gambling preference causes lottery-like options to be overvalued.

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