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- Understanding... Booklets - OUT OF PRINT

Understanding The Futures Markets

The Mystery of Futures - Unraveled

This booklet is for investors who are new to the futures markets. It tells the story behind the financial pages of newspapers where orange juice and pork belly prices neighbor T-bond and gold quotes. And it explains why some futures trading pits are bursting with shouting, waving traders.

Years ago, most futures contracts were based on farm products such as wheat, corn, and soybeans, or basic metals such as silver and copper. Today’s market is far more diverse. Not only are the traditional contracts still trading, but they have been joined by very popular and successful financial futures based on interest-rate instruments, stock and other indexes, and foreign currencies.

Of all the topics in finance to be studied, futures trading is the most interesting. Every event and everybody seem to affect it—from the weather in Kansas to the latest statement by the Federal Reserve Chairman; from declarations of war to consumer preferences. It is also probably the most fair and efficient marketplace. That alone makes it worth our attention.

Copyright © 2002 The booklet size is 5½" x 8½" and it contains 52 pages.

Understanding The Options Markets

The Mystery of Options - Unraveled

The hundreds of different exchange-traded options contracts now available to investors— whether on individual securities, stock indexes or futures contracts—can seem intimidating, even to an experienced hand at trading stocks, bonds or futures. There is virtually no limit to the ways options can be used, and their growing popularity as investment vehicles reflect the flexibility they offer large and small investors alike.

The purpose of this booklet is to show investors who are new to options some of the ways options are used, and to help them determine which options strategies, if any, are appropriate for them. It can provide no more than an introduction to this complex product, and it assumes a familiarity with the financial instruments underlying the options contracts. Used appropriately, options can help the investor limit risk, lock in profits, and sleep at night. Or they can be used to increase leverage, enhancing the potential profit while increasing the potential financial risk. Like any tool, they must be used carefully with full regard for that risk. An investment that is appropriate for one investor could involve unacceptable risks for another. In other words, the investor himself must determine which tool to use, which market to use it in, or whether to stand aside.

Fortunately for us, the many different kinds of options share a common vocabulary and a common set of responses to similar changes in their underlying investments. That vocabulary may seem difficult at first, but there is nothing secret or mysterious in it. We will now explore what those words mean and how to use options. Because so many unfamiliar terms will be used, a glossary is included in this booklet beginning on page 38.

Copyright © 2002 The booklet size is 5½" x 8½" and it contains 44 pages.

Understanding The Securities Markets


Today, people can choose from among hundreds of different investments. To make the best decisions, many investors first look for good, basic information about the financial instruments they are considering. This booklet provides a no-frills explanation of one of the major categories of investment—marketable securities.

The dictionary defines a security as an evidence of ownership or debt. Securities representing ownership include common stocks, options, warrants and preferred stocks. Debt securities include bonds and other credit instruments issued by the federal, state and local governments, government agencies and corporations. Marketable securities are simply instruments which can be traded. A savings account, for example, cannot be traded; a share of IBM can.

The major types of securities can be identified by answering these questions:

  • Why and how is the security issued on the primary market (the new issues market)?
  • How do buying and selling take place in the secondary market (on exchanges, or over the counter)?
  • What factors affect the security’s price?
  • How can investors track its performance?

New types of securities and variations on old ones pop up every few weeks. Students and investors will find details omitted here in countless books and periodicals covering the securities markets.

Copyright © 2002 The booklet size is 5½" x 8½" and it contains 28 pages.

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