This paper examines the volume distribution of option trade prices that occurs when the underlying stock price remains constant. The width of these option trade price bands provides direct evidence on the law of one price and the redundancy of options assumed in many option models. We find that index option bands are narrower than equity option bands. Furthermore, for both equity and index options, puts have narrower bandwidths than calls. In general, option price bandwidth is narrow and can be explained by the minimum price movement allowed by the Chicago Board Options Exchanges (CBOE). This supports the single price law and the redundancy assumption. The existence of bid/ask quotes on the option does not materially affect the above results although it does alter the frequency of multiple option trade prices for a given underlying stock price. We note that over 53% of option trading volume occurs without bid/ask quotes on the CBOE compared to less than 15% a decade ago. Our results suggest that the effective bid/ask spread on options is probably no larger than the minimum price movements allowed by the CBOE. Furthermore, the need for the liquidity services of market makers may be declining if the decline in quoting activity stems from cross trading (i.e. trades not involving market makers).
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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