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Visual Guide to Financial Markets

ISBN: 978-1-118-20423-8
208 pages
July 2012
Visual Guide to Financial Markets (1118204239) cover image
A highly visual look at major investment opportunities from the minds at Bloomberg

The essential guide for anyone trying to get a handle on the fundamentals of investing, the Bloomberg Visual Guide to Financial Markets distills 30 years of Bloomberg expertise into one straightforward, easy-to-read volume. The book teaches readers about three basic investment options—governments, companies, and real assets, including gold and other commodities—and offers valuable insights into money-market securities, bonds, stocks, derivatives, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and alternatives.

Designed to help financial professionals, students of finance, and individual investors understand the markets in which they're investing, the book begins with simple investments before moving on to more complex choices.

  • Explains bonds, stocks, derivatives, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and alternatives such as hedge funds
  • Explores the three Rs of returns, risks, and relative value that are associated with each type of investment
  • Provides a highly visual presentation with an emphasis on graphics and professional applications

The Bloomberg Visual Guide to Financial Markets gives the reader a clear picture of what underlies market structure, instruments, and dynamics and how to capitalize on these elements.

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Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

Part I: Direct Investing 1

Chapter 1: Overview 3

Quotations 4

Three Rs 6

Chapter 2: Government 11

Currencies 12

Quotations 13

Three Rs 15

Bills 18

Quotations 20

Three Rs 21

Notes and Bonds 24

Quotations 26

Three Rs 27

Chapter 3: Companies 35

Money Markets 35

Quotations 38

Three Rs 39

Notes and Bonds 42

Quotations 45

Three Rs 46

Stocks 50

Quotations 53

Three Rs 55

Chapter 4: Hard Assets 63

Gold 63

Quotations 66

Three Rs 66

Commodities 68

Quotations 70

Three Rs 71

Real Estate 73

Quotations 75

Three Rs 75

Chapter 5: Indexes 79

Currency 79

Debt 81

Equity 83

Hard Assets 85

Chapter 6: Government Revisited 87

Municipal Bonds 88

Quotations 90

Three Rs 91

Mortgage-Backed Securities 93

Quotations 95

Three Rs 95

Chapter 7: Companies Revisited 99

Preferred Stock 99

Quotations 100

Three Rs 101

Convertible Securities 103

Quotations 104

Three Rs 105

Bank Loans 106

Quotations 109

Three Rs 109

Chapter 8: Hard Assets Revisited 113

Master Limited Partnerships 114

Quotations 115

Three Rs 116

Real Estate Investment Trusts 118

Quotations 120

Three Rs 120

Part II: Indirect Investing 123

Chapter 9: Overview 125

Quotations 126

Three Rs 127

Chapter 10: Derivatives 129

Futures and Forwards 129

Quotations 131

Three Rs 134

Options and Warrants 137

Quotations 140

Three Rs 142

Swaps 145

Interest-Rate Swaps 147

Quotations 149

Three Rs 149

Credit Default Swaps 152

Quotations 153

Three Rs 154

Quotations 161

Three Rs 162

Alternative Funds 165

Quotations 168

Three Rs 168

Chapter 12: Indexes Revisited 173

Futures 173

Options 175

Swaps 176

Funds 177

Appendix: Bloomberg Functionality Cheat Sheet 179

About the Author 181

Index 183

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David Wilson has covered financial markets since the 1980s. He has served as a managing editor, bureau chief, columnist, radio host, and stock market reporter at Bloomberg News, and has taught business and financial journalism courses that he created to staff members worldwide. He currently writes the "Chart of the Day" column for Bloomberg and reports on stocks hourly for Bloomberg Radio.

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July 17, 2012
Visual Guide to Financial Markets Explores the Risk, Returns, and Relative Value for Investment Options

Financial markets are supposed to be complicated. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be as much money to go around and individual investors wouldn’t need to pay brokers and financial advisers as much to manage their nest eggs. The Bloomberg Financial Series Visual Guide to Financial Markets (Wiley; July 2012; $60.00; 978-1-1182-0423-8; Paperback; Ebook; Enhanced Ebook) makes them easier to understand.

This essential guide provides key information about the forces underlying market structure, instruments, and dynamics and the ways to capitalize on them. Written by Bloomberg Reporter-at-Large David Wilson, the book covers the three basic types of investments and the markets tied to them directly and indirectly: 

  • Governments, which rely on money from investors to bridge gaps between spending and taxes. The bigger the budget deficit, the more borrowing they need to do.
  • Companies, which raise funds to run and expand their business and enable owners to buy and sell their investments.
  • Hard assets, which have a presence that goes beyond entries in computer databases or on scraps of paper. Gold, commodities, and real estate fall under this category.

Beginning with simple investments before moving on to more complex opportunities, the book emphasizes the three Rs of financial market investing: returns, risks, and relative value. There are discussions of interest and dividends, the forces that can work against investors, and the methods used to determine whether an asset is cheap, expensive, or fairly valued. Examining how these relate to each investment class, the book presents  information on bonds, stocks, derivatives, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and indexes.

Lavishly illustrated throughout with charts and other visual aids that highlight the concepts covered, the book features easy-to-reference learning aids, Bloomberg Terminal graphics, and full-color large-format charts. The enhanced ebook version brings the content to life via test-yourself quizzes, video tutorials, zoom-in capabilities, and pop-up content (features are subject to e-reader/tablet functionality).

Filled with practical information presented in a readily accessible, easy-to-use format, the Bloomberg Financial Series Visual Guide to Financial Markets is an indispensable guide to gaining insight into the often confusing world of financial markets.

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