Authors: R.J. Vanderbei, M.C. Pinar, E.B. Bozkaya

Abstract

An American option (or, warrant) is the right but not the obligation to purchase or sell an underlying equity at any time up to a predetermined expiration date for a predetermined amount. A perpetual American option differs from a plain American option in that it does not expire. In this study, we solve the optimal stopping problem of a perpetual American option (both call and put) in discrete time using linear programming duality. Under the assumption that the underlying stock price follows a discrete time and discrete state Markov process, namely a geometric random walk, we formulate the pricing problem as an infinite dimensional linear program using the excessive and majorant properties of the value function. This formulation allows us to solve complementary slackness conditions in closed-form, revealing an optimal stopping strategy which highlights the set of stock-prices where the option should be exercised. The analysis for the call option reveals that such a critical value exists only in some cases, depending on a combination of state-transition probabilities and the economic discount factor (i.e., the prevailing interest rate) whereas it ceases to be an issue for the put.

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