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Milne, Frank
Madan, Dilip
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
Queen's Economics Department Working Paper 1158
Contingent claims with payoffs depending on finitely many asset prices are modeled as elements of a separable Hilbert space. Under fairly general conditions, including market completeness, it is shown that one may change measure to a reference measure under which asset prices are Gaussian and for which the family of Hermite polynomials serves as an orthonormal basis. Basis pricing synthesizes claim valuation and basis investment provides static hedging opportunities. For claims written as functions of a single asset price we infer from observed option prices the implicit prices of basis elements and use these to construct the implied equivalent martingale measure density with respect to the reference measure, which in this case is the Black-Scholes geometric Brownian motion model. Data on S&P 500 options from the Wall Srreet Journal are used to illustrate the calculations involved. On this illustrative data set the equivalent martingale measure deviates from the Black-Scholes model by relatively discounting the larger price movements with a compensating premia placed on the smaller movements.
European option pricing
Hermite polynomials
Hilbert space
martingale measures
S&P 500 index
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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