Market imperfections, discount factors and stochastic dominance: an empirical analysis with oil-linked derivatives

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Oil-linked derivatives are becoming very important in Modern Investment Theory. Accordingly, the analysis of Pricing Techniques and Portfolio Choice Problems involving these securities is a major topic for both managers and researchers. We focus on both the No-Arbitrage Approach and Stochastic Discount Factor (SDF) based methods in order to study oil-linked derivatives available at The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc, one of the world's largest markets in energy and precious metals. First, we generalize some theoretical properties of the SDF in order to capture the effects induced by the bid-ask spread when analyzing dominated/efficient portfolios. Secondly, we apply our findings and empirically analyze the existence of dominated assets and portfolios in the oil derivatives market. Our results reveal the systematic presence of dominated prices, which should be taken into account by traders when composing their portfolios. Additionally, the test yields pricing and portfolio choice methods as well as new strategies that may allow brokers to outperform their service for their clients. It is worth to point out that the conclusions of the test have two important characteristics: On the one hand, they are very precise since we draw on perfectly synchronized bid/ask prices, as provided by Reuters. On the other hand, they are robust in the sense that they do not depend on any assumption about the underlying asset price dynamics. Finally, despite the empirical test focuses on oil derivatives, the methodology is general enough to apply to a broad range of markets.
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