For the last few years the financial news has been dominated by the series of financial crises that began in the US in 2007, spread to the international banking system and, by 2011, had become a threat to the solvency of a number of sovereign states, particularly in the West. Does this mean that the good times for investors are finally over, and that we should keep our savings under the bed from now on? Almost certainly not! Although the financial crisis (discussed in detail in Chapter 13) has been a serious shock, the financial markets still offer good opportunities to ordinary investors to make their assets grow respectably in the long term.

This book is an introduction to the complex world of the financial markets. These days, ...

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