Your SlideShare is downloading. ×

Short Variance Swap Strategies on the S&P 500 Index Profitable, Yet Risky

3,721

Published on

Actionable trade ideas for stock market investors and traders seeking alpha by overlaying their portfolios with options, other derivatives, ETFs, and disciplined and applied Game Theory for hedge fund …

Actionable trade ideas for stock market investors and traders seeking alpha by overlaying their portfolios with options, other derivatives, ETFs, and disciplined and applied Game Theory for hedge fund managers and other active fund managers worldwide. Ryan Renicker, CFA

Published in: Business, Economy & Finance
0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
3,721
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
16
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide

Transcript

  • 1. September 26, 2006 Index Volatility Commentary Ryan Renicker, CFA 1.212.526.9425 • Systematic strategies that short index volatility have been popular in a period of historically lowryan.renicker@lehman.com realized volatility. Devapriya Mallick 1.212.526.5429 • Unhedged put and call writing using OTM SPX options have been profitable strategies over the dmallik@lehman.com last decade, but expose the investor to disproportionate downside risks. • Short variance swap strategies on the SPX have remained profitable in spite of vols coming off in recent months. However, sellers of NDX variance have been barely compensated for their short gamma risk.Lehman Brothers does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that the firm may have a conflict ofinterest that could affect the objectivity of this report.Customers of Lehman Brothers in the United States can receive independent, third-party research on the company or companies covered in this report, at no cost to them,where such research is available. Customers can access this independent research at www.lehmanlive.com or can call 1-800-2LEHMAN to request a copy of this research.Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision.PLEASE SEE ANALYST(S) CERTIFICATION AND IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES BEGINNING ON PAGE 7.
  • 2. Equity Derivatives Strategy | Index Volatility Commentary A Closer Look at Volatility Selling Strategies With the VIX hovering around 12, the performance of systematic volatility selling strategies merits closer scrutiny. Due to the usual implied-realized vol premium, these strategies are popular as a means of yield enhancement, either on a hedged or unhedged basis. Figure 1 shows the monthly P/L of a strategy that sells 5% OTM puts on the S&P 500 as of each monthly expiration date. Over a ten year period, the short puts would have generated a positive yield but would also have exposed the seller to disproportionate downside risks, such as in 2001 and 2002. The cumulative returns from a strategy that shorts 1-month SPX puts on monthly expirations using a $100 margin (Figure 2), while still positive, have been tapering off since 2003. This is not surprising given the low vol environment of the last few years.Figure 1: Monthly P/L from Short 1-Month SPX Puts (5% OTM) Figure 2: Cumulative P/L –1-Month SPX Put Selling Strategy 20 300 10 0 -10 200 -20 -30 -40 100 -50 -60 Payoff per Cumulative Payoff Short SPX Put (Short SPX Puts) -70 -80 0 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja JaSource: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg A similar observation can be made about a strategy of selling 5% OTM calls on a monthly basis (Figure 3). Here the premium compression trend in the last few years seems to be even more pronounced than for the put-selling strategy. This is partly because the market has rallied steadily over this period, increasing the odds of the written calls finishing in the money. Another factor explaining this is the popularity of index call overwriting that puts downward pressure on OTM call implied vols on index options.Figure 3: Monthly P/L from SPX Call Writing Strategy (5% OTM) Figure 4: Cumulative P/L – Short 1-Month SPX Calls Strategy 20 160 0 140 120 -20 100 -40 80 -60 60 -80 40 Cumulative Payoff (Short SPX Calls) Payoff per Short 20 -100 SPX Call 0 -120 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 96 97 98 99 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- n- Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja Ja JaSource: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg September 26, 2006 2
  • 3. Equity Derivatives Strategy | Index Volatility Commentary Short Variance Swaps Systematic call or put selling exposes the investor to directional risk. Thus, even if realized volatility subsequently turns out to be lower than the implied volatility of the written options, the investor could still lose if the market continues upwards or downwards in a steady grind. Delta-hedging on a dynamic basis is one means of mitigating this, but is imperfect due to discontinuous hedging and transaction costs. Variance swaps are instruments that give pure exposure to future realized volatility (gamma) and eliminate the need for dynamic hedging. Figure 5 shows the weekly P/L of a strategy that systematically shorts 1-month variance swaps on the S&P 500. We find that this has largely been a profitable tactic over the past 18 months except for periods of minor market shocks (such as Apr 05, Oct 05 and May/Jun 06). Furthermore, we can make the following observations: • The immediate aftermath of a sell-off is the most attractive time to sell premium, especially if the investor believes the shock to be short-lived. At such times, the bid on implied vols allows the variance seller to pick up a higher premium. • Premiums have been declining over the last two months and for the NDX (Figure 6), are barely at levels where the investor gets sufficiently compensated for the short gamma risk. In spite of SPX variance having cheapened considerably relative to NDX, variance selling has worked better for the SPX only because of abysmally low vols in the latter. • In the last few years, the occasional spike in realized volatility has been milder than in the period ending in 2002. Focusing on a shorter history ignores the disproportionate risks this strategy exposes investors to, in the event of a market crash. At present, tail risks on account of macro factors seem to have receded somewhat, with the inflation picture looking less ominous and last week’s Philadelphia Fed survey causing the market to assign a one-third probability to a Fed ease by year-end. However, with earnings season coming up in a few weeks, and lack of clarity around the effect of slowing growth on corporate profits, we do not believe premium selling strategies offer an attractive risk-reward at this point.Figure 5: Weekly Payoff From Short 1-Month SPX Variance Swaps1 Figure 6: Short Variance Swap Payoff for NDX 2,000 2,500 Weekly P/L - Short SPX 2,000 1,500 Variance Swap 1,500 Weekly P/L (per Mn Vega) Weekly P/L (per Mn Vega) 1,000 1,000 500 500 0 0 -500 -500 -1,000 -1,000 -1,500 -2,000 Weekly P/L - Short NDX -1,500 -2,500 Variance Swap -2,000 -3,000 06 05 06 05 06 05 06 05 06 05 05 05 05 06 05 05 ay ar ar ct ay g n l ar ar ec ct g l n ec Ju Ju Au Ju Au Ju O M M O M M M M D 28 D 28 21 21 24 03 10 24 03 10 12 19 12 19 30 30 Week Ending Week EndingSource: Lehman Brothers, Bloomberg Source: Lehman Brothers, Bloomberg 1 In all cases, we assume mid-market execution and ignore the effect of bid-ask spreads on the respective strategies. September 26, 2006 3
  • 4. Equity Derivatives Strategy | Index Volatility CommentaryFigure 7: S&P 500 Index Volatility Summary S&P 500 Implied and Realized Volatility S&P 500 Weekly Returns vs Vol Changes 20% 4% 3% 2% 15% 1% 0% 10% -1% -2% -3% 5% -4% 5 6 6 6 05 5 06 6 06 5 6 6 0 -0 0 -0 0 -0 -0 r-0 l-0 v- p- n- b- n- g- ay ec ar ct Ju Ap No Fe Se Ja Ju Au O M 6 06 06 6 6 06 06 06 6 6 M D -0 -0 -0 r-0 l-0 n- b- n- g- p- ay ar ar Ju Ap Ja Fe Ju Au Se M M M SPX Implied Vol (3-month) SPX Realized Vol (3-month) SPX Implied Vol (1-month) SPX Realized Vol (1-month) SPX Weekly Return SPX Weekly Change in Implied Vol (1m) Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg Note: 1-month and 3-month implied volatility are interpolated volatilities for rolling maturities. 3-month realized volatility is calculated as the standard deviation of daily log returns over a 66 trading day historical window. 1- month realized volatility uses 22 days. Weekly spot returns in the index are compared with weekly changes in 1-month ATM implied volatility. S&P 500 Put-Call Skew S&P 500 Skew (1-week Changes) 7% 3.0% 6% SPX 30-delta Skew (3-month) 2.0% SPX 30-delta Skew (1-month) 5% 1.0% 4% 0.0% 3% 2% -1.0% 1% -2.0% 0% 6 6 7 07 7 08 8 6 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 n- n- ov ec ar ec c ct De Ju Ju O M N D D 5 06 6 06 6 6 05 5 05 6 06 6 -0 -0 -0 0 r-0 0 l-0 - p- c- n- b- n- g- ov ay ar ct SPX 1w Imp Vol Chg (95%) SPX 1w Imp Vol Chg (100%) SPX 1w Imp Vol Chg (105%) Ju Ap De Fe Se Ja Ju Au O M M N Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics Source: Lehman Brothers Note: The 30-delta skew is calculated as the difference between the 30-delta put and 30-delta call implied volatililty. Weekly changes of implied volatility at the 95% and 105% strike versus the at-the-money strike provide a measure of richening/cheapening of skew. Term Structure of ATM Implied Volatility (S&P 500) History of S&P 500 Term Spread 18% 3% 17% 2% 16% 15% 1% 14% 0% 13% 12% -1% 11% Last 1-wk Back 1-mo Back SPX 12M-3M Term Spread -2% 10% SPX 3M-1M Term Spread 9% -3% 6 6 7 07 7 08 8 6 5 06 6 06 6 6 05 5 5 6 06 6 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 0 -0 -0 -0 0 r-0 0 l-0 n- n- - v- p- n- b- n- g- ar ov ec ec ec ct ay ec ar ct Ju Ap Ju Ju No Se Ja Fe Ju Au O O M M N D D D M D Source: Lehman Brothers Note: The volatility term structure shows implied volatility for ATM strike options for each listed expiration. The term spread history plots the implied vol difference between 12-month and 3-month options and that between 3-month and 1-month options for the last 1 year.Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg, FAME September 26, 2006 4
  • 5. Equity Derivatives Strategy | Index Volatility CommentaryFigure 8: Nasdaq 100 Index Volatility Summary Nasdaq 100 Implied and Realized Volatility Nasdaq 100 Weekly Returns vs Vol Changes 25% 8% 6% 20% 4% 2% 0% 15% -2% -4% 10% -6% 5 6 6 6 05 5 06 6 06 5 6 6 0 -0 0 -0 0 -0 -0 r-0 l-0 v- p- n- b- n- g- ay ec ar ct Ju Ap No Fe Se Ja Ju Au O M 6 06 06 6 6 06 06 06 6 6 M D -0 -0 -0 r-0 l-0 n- b- n- g- p- ay ar ar Ju Ap Ja Fe Ju Au Se M M M NDX Implied Vol (3-month) NDX Realized Vol (3-month) NDX Implied Vol (1-month) NDX Realized Vol (1-month) NDX Weekly Return NDX Weekly Change in Implied Vol (1m) Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg Note: 1-month and 3-month implied volatility are interpolated volatilities for rolling maturities. 3-month realized volatility is calculated as the standard deviation of daily log returns over a 66 trading day historical window. 1- month realized volatility uses 22 days. Weekly spot returns in the index are compared with weekly changes in 1-month ATM implied volatility. Nasdaq 100 Put-Call Skew Nasdaq 100 Skew (1-week Changes) 6% 0.0% NDX 30-delta Skew (3-month) 5% NDX 30-delta Skew (1-month) 4% 3% -1.0% 2% 1% 0% -2.0% -1% 6 6 7 07 7 6 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 n- ov ec ar ec ct Ju O M N D D 5 06 6 06 6 6 05 5 05 6 06 6 -0 -0 -0 0 r-0 0 l-0 - p- c- n- b- n- g- ov ay ar ct NDX 1w Imp Vol Chg (95%) NDX 1w Imp Vol Chg (100%) NDX 1w Imp Vol Chg (105%) Ju Ap De Fe Se Ja Ju Au O M M N Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics Source: Lehman Brothers Note: The 30-delta skew is calculated as the difference between the 30-delta put and 30-delta call implied volatililty. Weekly changes of implied volatility at the 95% and 105% strike versus the at-the-money strike provide a measure of richening/cheapening of skew. Term Structure of ATM Implied Volatility (Nasdaq 100) History of Nasdaq 100 Term Spread 21% 3% 20% 2% 19% 1% 18% 0% 17% Last 1-wk Back 1-mo Back NDX 12M-3M Term Spread -1% 16% NDX 3M-1M Term Spread 15% -2% 6 6 7 07 7 6 5 06 6 06 6 6 05 5 5 6 06 6 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 0 -0 -0 -0 0 r-0 0 l-0 n- - v- p- n- b- n- g- ar ov ec ec ct ay ec ar ct Ju Ap Ju No Se Ja Fe Ju Au O O M M N D D M D Source: Lehman Brothers Note: The volatility term structure shows implied volatility for ATM strike options for each listed expiration. The term spread history plots the implied vol difference between 12-month and 3-month options and that between 3-month and 1-month options for the last 1 year.Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg, FAME September 26, 2006 5
  • 6. Equity Derivatives Strategy | Index Volatility CommentaryFigure 9: Russell 2000 Index Volatility Summary IWM Implied and Realized Volatility IWM Weekly Returns vs Vol Changes 30% 8% 6% 25% 4% 20% 2% 0% 15% -2% -4% 10% -6% 5 6 6 6 05 5 06 6 06 5 6 6 0 -0 0 -0 0 -0 -0 r-0 l-0 v- p- n- b- n- g- ay ec ar ct Ju Ap No Fe Se Ja Ju Au O M 6 06 06 6 6 06 06 06 6 6 M D -0 -0 -0 r-0 l-0 n- b- n- g- p- ay ar ar Ju Ap Ja Fe Ju Au Se M M M IWM Implied Vol (3-month) IWM Realized Vol (3-month) IWM Implied Vol (1-month) IWM Realized Vol (1-month) IWM Weekly Return IWM Weekly Change in Implied Vol (1m) Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg Note: 1-month and 3-month implied volatility are interpolated volatilities for rolling maturities. 3-month realized volatility is calculated as the standard deviation of daily log returns over a 66 trading day historical window. 1- month realized volatility uses 22 days. Weekly spot returns in the index are compared with weekly changes in 1-month ATM implied volatility. IWM Put-Call Skew IWM Skew (1-week Changes) 6% 1.0% 5% 4% 0.0% 3% 2% IWM 30-delta Skew (3-month) 1% IWM 30-delta Skew (1-month) -1.0% 0% 6 6 7 07 7 08 09 6 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 n- n- n- ov ec ar ec ct Ju Ja Ja O M N D D 5 06 6 06 6 6 05 5 05 6 06 6 -0 -0 -0 0 r-0 0 l-0 - p- c- n- b- n- g- ov ay ar ct IWM 1w Imp Vol Chg (95%) IWM 1w Imp Vol Chg (100%) IWM 1w Imp Vol Chg (105%) Ju Ap De Fe Se Ja Ju Au O M M N Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics Source: Lehman Brothers Note: The 30-delta skew is calculated as the difference between the 30-delta put and 30-delta call implied volatililty. Weekly changes of implied volatility at the 95% and 105% strike versus the at-the-money strike provide a measure of richening/cheapening of skew. Term Structure of ATM Implied Volatility (IWM) History of IWM Term Spread 23% 4% 3% 2% 22% 1% 0% 21% -1% -2% -3% 20% IWM 12M-3M Term Spread Last 1-wk Back 1-mo Back -4% IWM 3M-1M Term Spread -5% 19% -6% 6 6 7 07 7 08 09 6 5 06 05 5 6 06 6 6 06 5 6 6 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 -0 0 r-0 0 l-0 n- n- n- - p- n- b- n- g- ar ov ec ec ct ov ay ec ar ct Ju Ju Ja Ja Ap Fe Se Ja Ju Au O M O N D D M M N D Source: Lehman Brothers Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, FAME Note: The volatility term structure shows implied volatility for ATM strike options for each listed expiration. The term spread history plots the implied vol difference between 12-month and 3-month options and that between 3-month and 1-month options for the last 1 year.Source: Lehman Brothers, OptionMetrics, Bloomberg, FAME September 26, 2006 6
  • 7. Equity Derivatives Strategy | Index Volatility CommentaryAnalyst Certification:I, Ryan Renicker, hereby certify (1) that the views expressed in this research email accurately reflect my personal views about any or all of the subject securities orissuers referred to in this email and (2) no part of my compensation was, is or will be directly or indirectly related to the specific recommendations or views expressedin this email.To the extent that any of the conclusions are based on a quantitative model, Lehman Brothers hereby certifies (1) that the views expressed in this research emailaccurately reflect the firms quantitative research model (2) no part of the firms compensation was, is or will be directly or indirectly related to the specificrecommendations or views expressed in this research report.Important DisclosuresLehman Brothers does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. As a result, investors should be aware that the firm may have aconflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this email communication.Customers of Lehman Brothers in the United States can receive independent, third-party research on the company or companies covered in this report, at no cost tothem, where such research is available. Customers can access this independent research at www.lehmanlive.com or can call 1-800-2-LEHMAN to request a copy ofthis research.Investors should consider this communication as only a single factor in making their investment decision.The analysts responsible for preparing this report have received compensation based upon various factors including the Firm’s total revenues, a portion of which isgenerated by investment banking activities.Stock price and ratings history charts along with other important disclosures are available on our disclosure website at www.lehman.com/disclosuresAnd may also be obtained by sending a written request to: LEHMAN BROTHERS CONTROL ROOM , 745 SEVENTH AVENUE, 19TH FLOOR NEW YORK, NY10019Options are not suitable for all investors and the risks of option trading should be weighed against the potential rewards.Supporting documents that form the basis of the recommendations are available on request. Please note that the trade ideas withinthis report in no way relate to the fundamental ratings applied to European stocks by Lehman Brothers Equity Research.This material has been prepared and/or issued by Lehman Brothers Inc., member SIPC, and/or one of its affiliates (“Lehman Brothers”) and has been approved byLehman Brothers International (Europe), authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, in connection with its distribution in the European EconomicArea. This material is distributed in Japan by Lehman Brothers Japan Inc., and in Hong Kong by Lehman Brothers Asia Limited. This material is distributed in Australiaby Lehman Brothers Australia Pty Limited, and in Singapore by Lehman Brothers Inc., Singapore Branch. (“LBIS”). Where this material is distributed by LBIS, pleasenote that it is intended for general circulation only and the recommendations contained herein does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financialsituation or particular needs of any particular person. An investor should consult his Lehman Brothers’ representative regarding the suitability of the product and takeinto account his specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs before he makes a commitment to purchase the investment product. This materialis distributed in Korea by Lehman Brothers International (Europe) Seoul Branch. This document is for information purposes only and it should not be regarded as anoffer to sell or as a solicitation of an offer to buy the securities or other instruments mentioned in it. No part of this document may be reproduced in any mannerwithout the written permission of Lehman Brothers. With the exception of disclosures relating to Lehman Brothers, this research report is based on current publicinformation that Lehman Brothers considers reliable, but we make no representation that it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied on as such. In the caseof any disclosure to the effect that Lehman Brothers Inc. or its affiliates beneficially own 1% or more of any class of common equity securities of the subject company,the computation of beneficial ownership of securities is based upon the methodology used to compute ownership under Section 13(d) of the United States SecuritiesExchange Act of 1934. In the case of any disclosure to the effect that Lehman Brothers Inc. and/or its affiliates hold a short position of at least 1% of the outstandingshare capital of a particular company, such disclosure relates solely to the ordinary share capital of the company. Accordingly, while such calculation representsLehman Brothers’ holdings net of any long position in the ordinary share capital of the company, such calculation excludes any rights or obligations that LehmanBrothers may otherwise have, or which may accrue in the future, with respect to such ordinary share capital. Similarly such calculation does not include any sharesheld or owned by Lehman Brothers where such shares are held under a wider agreement or arrangement (be it with a client or a counterparty) concerning the sharesof such company (e.g. prime broking and/or stock lending activity). Any such disclosure represents the position of Lehman Brothers as of the last business day of thecalendar month preceding the date of this report.This material is provided with the understanding that Lehman Brothers is not acting in a fiduciary capacity. Opinions expressed herein reflect the opinion of LehmanBrothers and are subject to change without notice. The products mentioned in this document may not be eligible for sale in some states or countries, and they may notbe suitable for all types of investors. If an investor has any doubts about product suitability, he should consult his Lehman Brothers representative. The value of and theincome produced by products may fluctuate, so that an investor may get back less than he invested. Value and income may be adversely affected by exchange rates,interest rates, or other factors. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. If a product is income producing, part of the capital invested may beused to pay that income. © 2006 Lehman Brothers. All rights reserved. Additional information is available on request. Please contact a Lehman Brothers entity in yourhome jurisdiction.Lehman Brothers policy for managing conflicts of interest in connection with investment research is available at www.lehman.com/researchconflictspolicy. Ratings,earnings per share forecasts and price targets contained in the Firms equity research reports covering U.S. companies are available atwww.lehman.com/disclosures.Complete disclosure information on companies covered by Lehman Brothers Equity Research is available at www.lehman.com/disclosures. September 26, 2006 7

×