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A Derivatives Primer: Options, Futures, and Structures by John Succo

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A Derivatives Primer

Options, Futures, and Structures

John Succo

 

Introduction to Derivatives

We hear so much about derivatives, but the general public and even many professional traders aren’t quite sure what they are or how they impact our lives. Because leverage is almost always employed (only a fraction of the notional value is required for margin), the derivatives markets dwarf all other markets. The best estimate of the size of these markets is $300 trillion. By way of comparison, the value of all U.S. equities listed on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) is about $16 trillion. Because derivatives introduce a great deal of leverage into the financial system and the size of these markets is so great, regulators are very concerned about ...

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