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Jel Classification:G13 

Broker-dealer risk appetite and commodity returns

This paper shows that the risk-bearing capacity of U.S. securities brokers and dealers is a strong determinant of risk premia in commodity derivatives markets. Commodity derivatives are the principal instrument used by producers and purchasers of commodities to hedge against commodity price risk. Broker-dealers play an important role in this hedging process because commodity derivatives are traded primarily over the counter. I capture the limits of arbitrage in this market in a simple asset pricing model where producers and purchasers of commodities share risk with broker-dealers who are ...
Staff Reports , Paper 406

Simple and reliable way to compute option-based risk-neutral distributions

This paper describes a method for computing risk-neutral density functions based on the option-implied volatility smile. Its aim is to reduce complexity and provide cookbook-style guidance through the estimation process. The technique is robust and avoids violations of option no-arbitrage restrictions that can lead to negative probabilities and other implausible results. I give examples for equities, foreign exchange, and long-term interest rates.
Staff Reports , Paper 677

Understanding mortgage spreads

Most mortgages in the U.S. are securitized in agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Yield spreads on these securities are thus a key determinant of homeowners? funding costs. We study variation in MBS spreads over time and across securities, and document a cross-sectional smile pattern in MBS spreads with respect to the securities? coupon rates. We propose non-interest-rate prepayment risk as a candidate driver of MBS spread variation and present a new pricing model that uses ?stripped? MBS prices to identify the contribution of this prepayment risk to the spread. The pricing model finds ...
Staff Reports , Paper 674

Global variance term premia and intermediary risk appetite

Sellers of variance swaps earn time-varying risk premia for their exposure to realized variance, the level of variance swap rates, and the slope of the variance swap curve. To measure risk premia, we estimate a dynamic term structure model that decomposes variance swap rates into expected variances and term premia. Empirically, we document a strong global factor structure in variance term premia across the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Japan. We further show that variance term premia are negatively correlated with the risk appetite of hedge funds, broker-dealers, and mutual funds. Our results ...
Staff Reports , Paper 789

Equity Volatility Term Premia

This paper estimates the term-structure of volatility risk premia for the stock market. Realized variance term premia are increasing in systematic risk and predict variance swap returns. Implied volatility term premia are decreasing in risk initially, but then increase at a lag, predicting VIX futures returns. By modeling the logarithm of realized variance, the paper derives a closed-form relationship between the prices of variance swaps and VIX futures. The model provides accurate pricing and highlights periods of dislocation between the index options and VIX futures markets. Term premia ...
Staff Reports , Paper 867

Working Paper
International Evidence on Extending Sovereign Debt Maturities

Portfolio diversification is as important to debt management as it is to asset management. In this paper, we focus on diversification of sovereign debt issuance by examining the extension of the maximum maturity of issued debt. In particular, we examine the potential costs to the U.S. Treasury of introducing 50-year bonds as a financing option. Based on evidence from foreign government bond markets with such long-term debt, our results suggest that a 50-year Treasury bond would likely trade at an average yield that is at most 20 basis points above that of a 30-year bond. Our results based on ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2021-19

Working Paper
Generating Options-Implied Probability Densities to Understand Oil Market Events

We investigate the informational content of options-implied probability density functions (PDFs) for the future price of oil. Using a semiparametric variant of the methodology in Breeden and Litzenberger (1978), we investigate the fit and smoothness of distributions derived from alternative PDF estimation methods, and develop a set of robust summary statistics. Using PDFs estimated around episodes of high geopolitical tensions, oil supply disruptions, and macroeconomic data releases, we explore the extent to which oil price movements are expected or unexpected, and whether agents believe ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1122

Working Paper
Asset Co-movements: Features and Challenges

This paper documents and characterizes the time-varying structure of U.S. and international asset co-movements. Although some of the time variation could be genuine, the sampling uncertainty and time series properties of the series can distort significantly the underlying signal dynamics. We discuss examples that illustrate the pitfalls from drawing conclusions from local trends of asset prices. On a more constructive side, we find that the U.S. main asset classes and major international stock indices share a factor that is closely related to the business cycle. At even lower frequency, the ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2017-11

Working Paper
QE Auctions of Treasury Bonds

The Federal Reserve (Fed) uses a unique auction mechanism to purchase U.S. Treasury securities in implementing its quantitative easing (QE) policy. In this paper, we study the outcomes of QE auctions and participating dealers' bidding behaviors from November 2010 to September 2011, during which the Fed purchased $780 billion Treasury securities. Our data include the transaction prices and quantities of each traded bond in each auction, as well as dealers' identities. We find that: (1) In QE auctions the Fed tends to exclude bonds that are liquid and on special, but among included bonds, ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-48

The Law of One Price in Equity Volatility Markets

This paper documents law of one price violations in equity volatility markets. While tightly linked by no-arbitrage restrictions, the prices of VIX futures exhibit significant deviations relative to their option-implied upper bounds. Static arbitrage opportunities occur when the prices of VIX futures violate their bounds. The deviations widen during periods of market stress and predict the returns of VIX futures. A relative value trading strategy based on the deviation measure earns a large Sharpe ratio and economically significant alpha-to-margin. There is evidence that systematic risk and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 953


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