Who's the Bear Driving Up the Price of U.S. Stock Options? Banks

  • S&P 500 skew has been elevated in 2015 relative to history
  • Deutsche Bank says stress test requirements are contributing

The Federal Reserve’s Comprehensive Capital Analysis & Review, or CCAR, has become one of the most important annual events for the largest banks.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

For more than a year, dealers in the U.S. equity derivatives market have noted a widening gap in the price of certain options. If you want to buy a put to protect against losses in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, often you’ll pay twice as much as you would for a bullish call betting on gains.

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