Mathematica 8 – FinancialDerivative American options issue

Again while testing my routines (Java code to implement the binomial tree to price American options) I came across an issue with the FinancialDerivative command of Mathematica 8 (I am working with the linux version). The default algorithm chosen by Mathematica for American style options seem to converge to a wrong result. To get the correct result  one must manually set the option  “Method” -> “Binomial”. As a simple example of the issue I post here the code to compute the price of a European and American call option with zero dividends. The two prices should be the same in this case. Here what I get instead:

In[1]:= $Version
Out[1]= "8.0 for Linux x86 (32-bit) (October 10, 2011)"

In[2]:= FinancialDerivative[{"American", "Call"}, {"StrikePrice" -> 110.00, "Expiration" -> 1},  {"InterestRate" -> 0.08, "Volatility" -> 0.,"CurrentPrice" -> 100, "Dividend" -> 0.0}]

Out[2]= 7.10517

In[3]:= FinancialDerivative[{"European","Call"}, {"StrikePrice" -> 110.00,"Expiration" -> 1},  {"InterestRate" -> 0.08, "Volatility" -> 0.2,"CurrentPrice" -> 100, "Dividend" -> 0.0}]

Out[3]= 7.27904

the two results are different. To get the correct price also for the American option try this

In[4]:= FinancialDerivative[{"American","Call"}, {"StrikePrice" -> 110.00,Expiration" -> 1},  {"InterestRate" -> 0.08, "Volatility" -> 0.2,"CurrentPrice" -> 100, "Dividend" -> 0.0}, "Method" -> "Binomial"]

Out[4]= 7.27904

I reported the issue to Wolfram support also asking what is the default method for American options and how to get the full list of available methods. By now I just received a short answer saying

[…] I have
forwarded your example to our developers so that they can take a look into
this and resolve the issue for a future version of Mathematica.

so let’s hope that this will be fixed in Mathematica v9. If I will get more information I’ll modify the post, by now just use the Binomial method to get the correct price for American options.

Pricing on Trees notes

Just added to the Notes page a few pages about option pricing on trees. We explicitly show the equivalence of replicating, hedging or using a risk-neutral approach to price options on a binomial tree. A Mathematica implementation of binomial and trinomial tree will be added soon, with discussion on convergence issues.