Futures and options markets are globally linked through round-the-clock computerized trading, and this booming derivatives industry has led the world economy in the recent globalization trend. This book highlights the economic role of futures and options markets in the new global economy and explains how these markets evolved to better serve a more integrated world economy. Starting from the fundamentals of commodity futures, this book advances the reader through the exciting development of financial futures and options, including currencies and equity indexes. The commodity contracts have historical significance and provide a foundation for understanding price formation in the most modern financial futures and options marketsthe future of the industry. Using economics logic rather than complex mathematics, this book brings the futures and options markets to life by explaining how and why these markets function and how they are used to manage market risk and as speculative investments.
Futures and options markets are the epitome of the global competitive marketplace. I have been interested in futures and options markets for many years and I have studied and traded these markets with enthusiasm and respect for the splendor of the marketplace. Futures and options markets provide a wonderful laboratory to allow students to see economic theory in action. The markets swiftly react to world news events that serve as either a supply or demand shock. The importance of futures and options markets in the global economy has grown remarkably and the industry remains highly dynamic and exciting. Despite the economic importance of futures and options markets, there is a surprisingly high level of ignorance among the public and the media regarding the functioning and economic benefits of these markets. Myths abound regarding the riskiness and undesirability of trading futures and options contracts, yet the volume of trade on these markets continues to expand year after year. As a result of the growth in this industry, more and more universities are beginning to introduce courses on futures and options markets. With the writing of this book, I hope to make a contribution to furthering the understanding of these vital markets.
This book is written as a textbook for an upper level undergraduate course in futures and options markets taught in schools of business, economics, or agricultural and applied economics. Students in an MBA program are also a target audience, as are professional financial planners, and money managers. The objective of this book is to provide an economic understanding of the development and operation of futures and options markets. This book presents an integrated explanation of the market institutions, theory, and empirical evidence. It provides the reader with an intuitive explanation of the complicated nature of futures and options markets. The material in this book is presented in a way that is accessible to students with training in economics, mathematics, and statistics at the principles level. Mathematics and formulas are kept to a minimum in this book because it is meant to be introductory material.
I have attempted to make the material interesting and easy to understand. Numerous real-world examples are provided explaining how practitioners use futures and options markets. A section on market efficiency is included to explain the efficiency debate. An extensive listing of Internet sites is provided to allow students to keep current with the market and access real data. Discussion questions and problems are offered to stimulate students to think about the topics at hand and allow them to test their understanding of the material presented. In addition, each chapter has key references to academic literature that provides the more sophisticated reader with suggestions for more advanced reading.
This book has a distinctive blend of material relating to options, futures, commodities, and financials. It is more general than most futures and options textbooks-for instance, it gives equal treatment to commodities and financials. The chapters on fundamental and technical analysis are somewhat unique, as most textbooks on this topic do not have such chapters. The illustrative examples and text boxes are aimed to make the material user friendly to students who are new to this topic.
This book is designed for a one-semester course and students should easily be able to get through the entire book in one semester. Although the material is difficult in places and intellectually challenging, I hope you find it worth the effort.
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